Southwest Educational Center

The Moraine Valley Community College Southwest Educational Center is a two-story building that houses classrooms, offices, and gathering spaces for students. The building’s entrance has a two-story lobby and cyber café. A two-story corridor also is included in the design. The college is pursuing LEED Gold for the project.

A structural challenge of this project was the lack of continuity in the floor diaphragms because of the double-high stories in various locations. This challenge was solved by making sure there was a lateral load path for each roof and floor area. At the Cyber Café, this required a steel moment frame designed to fit within brick columns. At other locations, it required the use of steel collector beams to transfer the lateral load within the masonry walls. The two-story corridor space also requires a precast plank cantilever to support the second story corridor. This required careful coordination with the precast plank manufacturer and the CMU wall reinforcement below.

Another challenge was the coordination of all of the mechanical ducts required to heat the classrooms. There is a heat pump for each separate room located in the corridor outside of a masonry wall requiring several mechanical duct openings in the wall for each room. This required careful coordination with several trades, which was helped by the structural masonry wall elevations created Revit software. The openings were laid out in a systematic way to meet the heating requirements without compromising the integrity of the structural wall.

Moraine Valley Community College
Palos Hills, IL
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