Originally constructed in 1965 as a dormitory, Kennesaw State University’s Howell Hall was one of the oldest dorms on the University’s Marietta campus. However, it was no longer meeting the needs of student residents, particularly where air quality was concerned. In April 2020, our Impact Development Management team was hired to oversee the final stages of design and the renovation work to ensure that all elements of the work met the quality, design standards, budget, and construction schedule requirements of the University. As the owner’s representative, we teamed with May Architecture, Ajax Building Company, and Epsten Group to develop a plan for the comprehensive renovation and worked alongside them to improve the air quality and update the building envelope, while also bringing the residence hall up to modern, more environmentally friendly standards.
Given just a year to complete the construction, we all set out to find efficiency in the schedule and identified a strategy to quickly begin the demolition and abatement process while assessing existing conditions. While this approach condensed the design time, it gave room in the schedule for unknowns uncovered during construction, commonly found in renovation projects.
As work progressed in the field, appropriate sequencing and timely material procurement became the focus for creating an efficient schedule. Daily huddles and weekly team sessions kept activities on track despite challenges presented from COVID-19 like delayed labor and material procurement. And there was a lot of work to be done! Before the HVAC could be upgraded, a new electrical system had to be installed and all the building’s windows replaced. In addition to mechanical and electrical upgrades, the weathered roof was replaced all while maintaining the structural integrity of the building. The contractor resourcefully and carefully worked within the building’s concrete block structural system with floor-to floor ceiling heights to transform the dated building to an ADA-compliant and environmentally conscious space.
Despite a global pandemic, the complex renovation was completed on time for Fall semester student move-in. By carefully tracking the budget, we were able to return savings that funded another building upgrade. As an added bonus, the project will apply for Georgia Peach certification to recognize sustainability efforts.
As we reflect on the renovation of Howell Hall, one thing is clear. In the true spirit of partnership, we were able to bring our entire team together to give 21st century students a place to live and thrive. And that’s what Impact Development Management is about – inspiring collaboration within a team to bring real value to the owner and end-users.