Todd Drager
Structural Option

User Note:
Note: While great efforts have been taken to provide accurate and complete information on the pages of CPEP, please be aware that the information contained herewith is considered a work‐in‐progress for this thesis project. Modifications and changes related to the original building designs and construction methodologies for this senior thesis project are solely the interpretation of Todd Drager. Changes and discrepancies in no way imply that the original design contained errors or was flawed. Differing assumptions, code references, requirements, and methodologies have been incorporated into this thesis project; therefore, investigation results may vary from the original design.

Building Statistics



Building Name: Coppin State University Physical Education Complex
Location: N. Warwick Ave., Baltimore, MD 21223
Building Occupant: Coppin State University
Occupancy/Function: Physical Education Complex, Facilities Management, and Public Safety Building
Height: Varies from 30’ to 60’  Floors Above Grade: Varies 1-4   Size: 155,200 s.f.
Owner: Maryland Stadium Authority
Construction Management Firm:
Architect: Cochran, Stephenson, and Donkervoet, Inc.
Associate Architect: Sasaki Associates, Inc.
Structural Engineer:  Hope Furrer Associates, Inc.
Mechanical Engineer: James Posey Associates, Inc.
Electrical Engineer: Diversified Engineering, Inc.
Civil Engineer: Site Resources, Inc.
Natatorium Planner: Counsilman/Hunsaker
Telecom/AV Consultant: Convergent Technologies
Food Service Consultant: Culinary Advisors
Security Consultant: speXsys, LLC
Estimated Cost: $57,400,000
Construction Dates:  2003(proposal) - 2009(completion)
Project Delivery Method: Design-bid-build
Major Codes Used:
                Overall:  IBC 2003
                Fire Protection: NFPA 101-2003


This state of the art recreation and physical education complex at Coppin State University combines the beauty and sophistication of red brick alongside the sleek appearance that steel and glass construction provides. The building sprawls in several directions at several heights from the hub of the building, the new 2600 seat arena. The arena contains a fully functional basketball court that can be changed to incorporate other sporting events when needed. Probably the most dramatic features would be the exposed steel trusses supporting the roof of the arena.  A variety of spaces are all contained within the complex in addition to the arena including an 8-lane swimming pool, racquetball courts, classrooms, and management facilities. The building uses several heights ranging from 30’ to 60’ which brings an exciting look to the exterior.  Alongside the building, tennis courts and other outdoor facilities are being developed, and because the building extends in several directions, greenspaces can be easily incorporated as well. The building actually surrounds a soccer and training field. Canopies stationed around the perimeter also provide a nice gathering spot for young college students. The complex has a good chance of bringing new light and rejuvenating the surrounding area.

Zoning/Historical Requirements: The building is located within the limits of the university, so it is zoned for the use of higher learning.

Building Envelope:  The building is wrapped in a shell of brickwork with large glass windows that not only invite the eye, but the body as well.  The building changes heights frequently which creates a more lively atmosphere for the viewer. Typical exterior walls are composed of CMU units with an air and vapor barrier connected to the face brick. Double-pane glass windows with aluminum dividers juxtapose the brick very nicely as a curtain wall system. The roofing system is composite metal decking with tapered insulation and a thermoplastic polyolefin roofing membrane. There is a ¼” per foot slope to roof drains. Square 2’ concrete pavers line the top of the roof.



Structural: The Coppin State University Physical Education Complex is essentially 4 buildings built side by side. A 3” expansion joint on both sides of the arena runs the entire length of the building in the N-S direction and another expansion joint adjacent to the auxiliary gym in the E-W direction in effect divide the building structurally.

The floor system of the Coppin State University Physical Education Complex is composed primarily of composite steel beams with a concrete slab, typically 3.25” lightweight concrete on a 3”x20ga. galvanized composite metal deck reinforced with 6x6-W1.4x1.4 W.W.F. The beams are typically spaced at 10’ intervals (with few exceptions due to vertical openings) to eliminate shoring during construction. Supporting girders are spaced typically at 30’. There is not much conformity of W shape sizing throughout the building due to its odd shape are different loading and spanning conditions. The columns are mostly W shapes with W12’s being the most common, but W10’s and W14’s are also used. The foundation is comprised of spread footings and slab on grade.

Several trusses spanning 166’6” support the roofing structure of the arena. W14x120’s make up the top and bottom chords and HSS8x8x1/2’s make up the diagonal members. Special connections are required at the midspan and intersection of the end triangle pieces.

Construction: The construction for the Coppin State University Physical Education Complex began in November 2007 and has an end date slated for 2009. The Construction Management firm is Gilbane, and the project delivery method was design-bid-build. The payment plan is a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP). The Building Use Group is mixed use types A-3, A-4, B, and S-1 with type 1B construction(see IBC Table 601).

Mechanical: The Coppin State University Physical Education Complex provides standard and single-zone variable air volume(VAV) air handling units scattered throughout the building. In total, 13 VAV units make up the mechanical system and each services specific zones.  Some air handlers are located indoors in mechanical rooms while others are contained on rooftops. A constant volume air handling unit also exists serving the Facilities Management building. Supply air intake ranges from a minimum of 9,000 CFM to a maximum of 40,000CFM, but is typically around 14,000CFM. Exhaust ranges from 7,500CFM to 38,000CFM but is typically around 13,000CFM. In addition, there are three 250 HP boilers(with  two future coolers planned), each with a 1250ft2 heating surface and a 1000 ton cooling tower (with 2 future towers planned) enclosed within the structure with ambient conditions of 100oF DB and 79oF WB. The air conditioning units use a 72oF DB and 60oF WB with 33,200 BTUH total and 26,900 BTUH sensible cooling capacity per unit. The pool dehumidifier uses a 2-fan configuration of 15,000 lbs. total to keep the water at 84oF.

Lighting: The lighting system at the Coppin State University Physical Education Complex uses primarily fluorescent lamps for interior classrooms, hallways, lobbies and things of that nature. The interesting lighting features are above the arena and swimming pool areas. Bundled above these areas are pendant mounted compact fluorescent lighting fixtures. The arena in particular requires an intense amount of light and since the fixtures are located at such a distance from the floor, compact fluorescents are utilized. Wall mounted step lights line the exterior of the building.

Electrical: A generator powers the main electrical room through underground conduits. The main electrical room houses the main switchboard as well as two other supporting panelboards. The main switchboard and panelboard EMDP run on 3 phase, 4-wire 480/277-volt system while the other panelboard(LMDP) uses  3 phase, 4-wire 208/120-volt system. Available short circuit current is 65,000 amperes symmetrical and the bus rating is 4,000 amperes. Distribution panels are sporadic throughout the building but primarily located in mechanical rooms and smaller electrical rooms.

Fire Protection:  The building is provided with a complete automatic fire protection system including combination standpipe/sprinkler system, valves and accessories in accordance with provisions of NFPA 13 and 14. The building is divided into three hazard classifications, and the flow rates to these areas vary by hazard level. Light hazard includes offices, corridors, lobbies and stairs; hazard group 1 includes mechanical and electrical rooms and storage areas; hazard group 2 is the arena. The arena contains the most complex system due to a lot of people being located in a small area with a high ceiling.

Transportation:  Because the Physical Education Complex is only 4 floors maximum and vast is length, primary vertical transportation is done primarily with stairways. Six main staircases exist in the building along with several exterior staircases that make accessing the higher floors from the outside much easier. There are a few elevators present in the building as well. One is by the arena, most likely to assist the elderly or handicapped. There is another elevator in the facilities management area and two others in physical education south.

Telecommunications: Security is a major issue because the complex is university owned and occupied. The complex has a parking lot entry gate with a card reader and fixed camera. Cameras are also stationed around the exterior of the building, and additional card readers and monitored doors are common in the interior. Code blue phones(emergency phones) are also scattered around the complex and campus to provide extra security in times of need.


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