Texas College - Martin Hall

Martin Hall.jpg


12,000 sf

Texas College

Merriman Anderson Architects

Garrett & Associates

Structural Engineering

Founded in 1894, Texas College is an accredited historically black four-year college located in Tyler, Texas. Martin Hall was one of the first buildings erected on the campus. The historic building has deteriorated significantly over time requiring civil, structural, surveying, forensics, and repair and strengthening services provided by RLG Consulting Engineers, including Kristina F. Geisler-Nordholm, to bring the building back to life.

The restoration of Martin Hall involved investigation and evaluation of the structure through site assessment, nondestructive testing, elevation surveys, and sampling of key materials. Martin Hall was built before general acceptance of standardized building codes and predated nationally recognized standards for materials. The structure consisted of archaic building materials and structural systems including unreinforced load bearing multi-wythe masonry walls, and rough-cut lumber of unknown species and grades. Additionally, documentation of the original construction did not exist.

Due to the historic nature of the building many repairs were required to bring the building up to date. Repairs included improvements to the roof framing due to termite and water damage, wall reinforcing and crack repair, foundation strengthening using helical piers, and slab-on-grade repairs/replacement. RLG provided a unique solution to reinforce the walls because of the wide-ranging conditions of the multi-wythe, load bearing, exterior and interior brick walls . The owner was able to weigh the performance with cost implications resulting in a hybrid solution that included reinforcing a portion of the foundation, tying the walls to the floor framing, and creating new connections throughout the building.

To meet ADA requirements, RLG’s team of structural engineers added an elevator to the building. RLG’s team of civil engineers provided paving and grading services for the parking lot rehabilitation. Miscellaneous sidewalk and site work was required. Additionally, the south side of the building had an awning entrance that was below the adjacent landscape grades, which caused water to enter the building during a heavy rain event. RLG’s team of civil engineers designed a berm to protect the building and divert the runoff onto the parking lot, so instead of into the building. There was a significant change in elevation across the site, RLG’s team of civil engineers were also tasked with designing an accessible pedestrian pathway.