Building Name: George Mason University PE Building Renovation & Expansion

Location: George Mason University, Fairfax Campus

Building Occupant: George Mason University Faculty & Students

Occupancy/Function Type: Athletic/Education

Size: 116,530 SF

# of Stories: 2

Construction Dates: Oct. 2007 - Apr. 2009

Total Project Budget: 29 million

Construction Budget: 24 million

Delivery Method: CM at Risk

Owner: Mickey Mcdade (GMU)

CM: Gilbane Building Co.

Architect: Ewing Cole

Landscape Architect: Lewis Scully Gionet


Civil: Christopher Consultants

Structural & MEP: Ewing Cole

Audio/Visual Consultants: PMK Consultants


The George Mason Physical Education Building sits alone in a wooded area outside of Patriot Circle. With the renovation and expansion to the existing building, it will become the main recreation center for GMU students on the Fairfax campus. The current building contains two gymnasiums as well as locker rooms, office and classroom spaces. The ultimate goal for this project is to better serve modern fitness and strength training requirements, and to accommodate current and future demands for recreational opportunities for students on campus.

The renovation aspect of this project includes renovations to the following sections of the building: exercise room, classroom, locker rooms, toilet rooms, training facilities, storage area, electrical distribution area, circulation, as well as touch ups to the existing Linn and Cage gyms. These touchups include a new gym floor, new exterior doors, new HVAC ductwork, and new roof system.

The expansions being constructed includes a new gym for volleyball and wrestling venues, racquetball and squash courts, a new strength-training and fitness facility, new locker rooms, administrative offices, and a lounge and juice bar area. The strength-training and fitness center is strategically placed between the two adjacent gymnasiums to compliment recreation opportunities for the students. It will become the focal point of the building. These expansions will double the square fottage of the existing building.

Zoning & Applicable Codes

The PE Building is classified as several different occupancy types. They include A-3 and A-4 Assembly, Business, Storage, and Mechanical. The construction type is classified 1-B. There are only a few limitations that apply with these classifications in which the building must abide by. The height must not exceed 160 feet. The actual height is 45 feet. 11 stories is the maximum. 2 stories is the actual.

There are three main codes that apply to this project. First, the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code (VUSBC 2005). Second, the Americans with disabilities act accessibility guidelines (ADAAG 2004). Third, the International Building Code (IBC 2003).

Building Envelope

The roofing system of the existing building is regular built-up roof. Part of this roof system on the East sector of the building is being demolished and replaced. The new roof system is an EPDM roofing system. It was planned to be built-up roof, but changed to EPDM in the VE process.

There are various exterior wall types enclosing the perimeter of the PE Building. The majority of the structural support for these walls is light gauge steel. The veneer is the main part that varies around the building. The varying veneers are as follows:

  • Horizontal Metal Panels Type 1
  • Horizontal Metal Panels Type 2
  • Vertical Metal Panels Type 3
  • Glass Curtain Wall System
  • Red Brick
  • Storefront Glass Windows
  • Translucent Wall Panel System
  • Translucent Metal Panel System
  • Louvered Metal Panel System

The only exception to this is the New Venue Gym. Its walls are made up of red brick veneer with CMU backup for the structural support.

Starting with the foundations, the structural system for this building consists of an average 2 ft. strip footing surrounding the perimeter of the building. The columns sit on spread footings. The steel frame of the building consists of a braced frame with W18X35 typical size beams and W10X33 typical column size. Composite elevated floor slabs tie into the structural frame. These slabs consist of 2 in. 18 gauge steel deck topped with 4 1/2 in. of normal weight concrete. The roof deck is a combination of 1 1/2 and 3 in. galvanized metal deck.
The PE Building's new mechanical system boasts six rooftop VAV air handling units that distribute air to their respected destinations throughout the building. The mechanical plant houses three 59 horsepower boilers that provide the hot water distributing throughout the building. Two 320 ton centrifugal chillers are housed there as well which provide the chilled water throughout the building. A 1920 gpm cooling tower sits in the Southwest corner of the building. Unit heaters are located in the stairwells as well as a few other locations throughout the building.
The main component for the PE Building's electrical system is its 2500A, 480V main service switchboard. Power is provided to the building from GMU's campus utilities. The main switchboard then ties into a 600A, 480V motor control center which provides power to all of the main mechanical equipment. Several transformers located inside the building step down the incoming voltage and distribute it throughout the building at 480/277V and 208/120V respectively. The main electrical backup system includes a set of 250A, 480V emergency generators. Lighting is provided by 36 different luminaire types spread throughout the building.