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Commons Building Renovation

Florida A&M University

This project consisted of renovating a two story 46,200 GSF mixed construction building with some historical features. The building houses an open computer laboratory (lounge) and help desk, five 50-person teaching laboratories, a 92-seat classroom, small group collaboration rooms, the campus’s IT Department offices, a testing center, podcasting studio and food services grille operation and dining area.


Three quarters of the building had been abandoned for over five years and portions of it were nearly dilapidated. The oldest part of the building was constructed in 1924 with three subsequent major expansions through the mid-1950’s. Original drawings for the common wood framed structure with brick veneer did not exist and archived material was minimal. It was necessary for GRC to do complete horizontal and vertical measurements and survey as the basis for the renovation design. Termite damage discovered during demolition was extensive and rendered two load-bearing walls unstable requiring immediate remedial action with bracing and a final structural steel and new masonry backup wall. The ground floor’s floor-to-structure height has primary and secondary beams dropping to below 8’-6” in many areas. It was a challenge for the new MEP systems. It was GRC’s charge to take the “sow’s ear and make it a silk purse” and the staff is pleased with the renovated space.

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