Shenandoah University Athletic Field House

The Shenandoah University Athletic Field House began as a structural steel concept, with a high, unobstructed space for basketball, volleyball, concerts, and indoor track and field, and a clear roof span across the event floor of almost 180 feet. The concept called for a structural steel perimeter framing that would carry 10-12 feet deep open web trusses, tall masonry infill walls, furred-out and interior insulated, and exterior field-laid brick. However, the cost of a structural steel design caused Shenandoah University to seek alternate designs that would better fit the university’s budget while still providing the features, clear spans, and flexibility needed for its new facility.

The Shockey Precast Group teamed with sister company and general contractor Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc. to provide a precast solution that would meet Shenandoah University’s budget and aesthetic vision. The precast design presented to the university features 50’ tall, 10”-thick structurally composite insulated prestressed concrete panels, supporting top-hung steel roof trusses. The building corners feature 12’-14’ tall cantilevering parapets requiring stiffening back ribs for support. Because the resulting panel height is approximately 62’, The Shockey Precast Group utilized a 52’ long temporary panel shoring system to stabilize the structure until the roof system is fully completed. Shockey also utilized helical piles for shoring anchoring in lieu of dedicated foundations or dead men.

The Meadow Burke Super 42 pole bracing presented a challenge to the erection crew, as the pole braces weigh approximately 700 pounds. This forced Shockey to deviate from its standard means and methods of hoisting the pole braces. Due to the weight of each brace, the Shockey crew had to utilize the auxiliary line on the crane to hoist each pole to the brace point. The larger bracing is used primarily at the tall, ribbed walls at each corner tower. The walls first must be picked from trailer, rotated, and stood vertical before the auxiliary line can be released. At that point, the crew was able to drop the auxiliary line and pick the pole brace. This ultimately results in some additional time on the hook.

The 6 ½’ helical piling was laid out and installed prior to precast erection. These piling serve as the anchor point for the pole bracing. This was also a new procedure for Shockey, and as with any new endeavor, additional time was needed to adjust, which the precast erection crew did very well. Typically, Shockey braces to deadmen or to a concrete slab. These methods offer more forgiveness in terms of attaching and anchoring each brace. Utilizing a new procedure did result in a few instances in which the brace point in the wall panel and piling did not align; however, after some coordination with Shockey’s engineering department, the precast erection crew was able to post-install a brace point at each of these locations. As noted, this is not typically an obstacle the crew faces when bracing to a slab or deadmen as they offer more tolerance for installation.

While the original precast design included an architectural thin-brick facade, Shenandoah University selected a field-laid brick option to complement the other buildings on campus, most notably its Health & Life Sciences Building, completed by Howard Shockey & Sons in 2014. The exterior façade of the new Athletic Field House also includes four 18’ diameter architectural precast feature medallions, the Shenandoah University president’s seal and the Shenandoah Athletics Hornets logo. Shockey utilized its new CNC robotic cutter to manufacture the custom precast medallions. After minor weather delays, precast erection of the Shenandoah University Athletic Field House was completed in early March.

Location: Winchester, VA
Owner: Shenandoah University
Architect: Earl Swensson Associates, Inc.
General Contractor: Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc.
SF: 85,438 GSF, 79,485 SF of wall panels
Precast Pieces: 221: (31) grey flat slabs, (8) grey beams, (60) prestressed wall panels, (114) insulated precast wall panels, (4) architectural precast medallions and (16) architectural precast coping pieces





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