Project to Renovate Denny Hall at UW is Back On


In 2008, BNBuilders was awarded a general contractor/construction manager contract to renovate Denny Hall at the University of Washington.

BNB started preconstruction work, but then the recession hit and the state decided in May of 2009 to hold up construction funding for the $56.9 million project.

Fast-forward five years and the idled project is back on. The same team — led by BNB and THA Architecture — is trying to figure out how to build it for less.

UW project manager Randy Everett said the state is funding $32.9 million, but the university now has to kick in $20 million and trim $4 million in costs.

A BNB official said they will first gut the building, leaving only the floors and outside walls. He said the building has been remodeled several times in the past, and this job will re-create some of the original lobby elements that were removed many years ago.

Everett said a new staircase will bring light into the lobby, which has been compromised by past renovations.

“It's pretty exciting to renovate the interior to recognize some of its original design intent,” he said.

A big part of the project will add seismic bracing and replace mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. There also will be new classrooms, faculty offices and possibly labs. One elevator will be replaced and a second may be installed.

BNB will install MEP systems in the cramped attic. No equipment can be put on the roof of the historic building: It was built in 1895 and is the oldest on campus.

The BNB official said crews did a laser scan of the attic in 2008 and found some big discrepancies in as-built drawings for things like ceiling joist locations.

BNB will do more investigations using BIM as the design progresses.

No extensive work is planned for the stone exterior and the UW is evaluating whether new windows are needed.

Everett said the stone is in good condition, but crews plan to work on the footings and foundation to keep water from leaking into the basement.

The windows are 60 to 70 years old, but not original. Everett said they open and are in good condition, but are single-pane.

Everett said they would like to keep the windows to save money, but may have to replace them to comply with new energy codes that weren't around in 2008.

Other money-saving measures the team is looking at include different finishes and combining smaller rooms to create larger ones. A couple of labs specified in the original plans were built in other buildings while the project was on hiatus, so Everett said the building won't have many of the expensive labs.

Everett said the reconfigured interior will be a bit smaller due to new circulation patterns and MEP systems, but the new space will be more efficient. The building has 98,745 gross square feet.

Everett said the renovation will bring Denny Hall up to modern standards but retain its classic look. “We want the inside to look as good as the outside,” he said.

Construction will begin in July 2015 and finish by the end of 2016.

In addition to THA, the design team is Glumac, mechanical engineer; Travis, Fitzmaurice & Associates, electrical engineer; PCS Structural Solutions, structural engineer; Coughlin Porter Lundeen, civil engineer; and Site Workshop, landscape architect.

BNB has been busy at the UW over the past few years. It did several tenant improvements at Magnuson Health Sciences Center and expanded the primary care center at Hall Health. The firm also is doing preconstruction for replacing the south campus police station. That GC/CM project has a budget of about $12 million and will start next year.

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