Reflecting the Georgian architecture of nearby buildings, Veterans Hall at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) was envisioned to be both a center of education for future healthcare professionals and a home base for enhanced services provided to military-affiliated students. The university broke ground on the $66 million, three-story, 145,000 sf building in 2018.

When completed, Veterans Hall will house the College of Health and Human Services and support the programming of the College of Arts and Sciences and Office of Military Affairs through a variety of tailored academic and research space. Schnabel was hired to provide geotechnical engineering services on the project.

Various underground utilities are present on the East Campus site, a former parking lot surrounded by academic and student life facilities. We conducted subsurface investigation and soil laboratory testing for the proposed building, floor slabs, pavement, and stormwater detention facilities. Our field investigation required close coordination with UNCW officials to minimize disruption of university activities and prevent impacts to sensitive utilities near boring locations.

Due to the loose and potentially liquefiable soils found at the site, we concluded that densification consisting of aggregate piers was required to increase soil-bearing capacity and reduce the potential for excessive settlement of shallow foundations. We also performed a site-specific seismic response analysis, which allowed for a change in the seismic design category for the structure. This resulted in significant cost savings due to a reduced need for structural and architectural element seismic restraints.

Photo: © EYP