USACE, Savannah District


FGM Architects


Poettker Construction


Fort Jackson, SC


This competitively procured 77,000 SF design-build facility replaces the existing Pierce Terrace School and meets the Department of Defense Education Activity’s criteria for “21st Century School Design” featuring clear span construction methods to allow easier reconfiguration to meet future educational needs.

The structure consists of interior steel columns supporting long-span joists, perimeter Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) special concrete shear walls, and intermediate precast shear walls. The foundation system is shallow footings and the roof is a metal deck supported on long-span joists.  The structure is located in a high-seismic zone requiring additional detailing requirements.

Client Benefits

With a targeted move-in date just 14 months after Notice to Proceed was given, foundation drawings were pushed ahead of the rest of the structural set to allow grading to begin prior to the completion of final (100%) design. BASE worked closely with the architect, contractor, and subcontractors to quickly develop constructible designs that met the design intent and owner’s requirements.

The Science and Design of Structural Engineering

Challenges confronting this fast-track project included design for blast effects in accordance with the military’s Antiterrorism and Force Protection (AT/FP) standards and the high seismicity present in South Carolina.  BASE looked at various options for interior framing ranging from conventional steel to pre-engineered metal building and precast vs. CMU vs. ICF vs. light-gage studs for the exterior walls. ICF walls were ultimately selected for exterior framing because it provided the most effective system for blast and seismic loads while also providing superior thermal characteristics. These studies were all done expeditiously during the fast-track design process.  Precast sandwich panels were used in the gymnasium building and required additional analysis to demonstrate that the panels had adequate vertical load carrying capacity even when subjected to blast pressures.  BASE worked closely with the precaster to achieve the required design performance.