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Strategic Construction Methods Lead to Cost-Effective Remodeling & Expansion  

construction crews working on contemporary iDOT facility in Fairfield, IA

The nearly complete internal steel structure provides a glimpse of the open spaces inside.

Located in Fairfield, the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) District 5 office houses the equipment and workforce needed for maintaining the roadway network in 20 counties spanning the southeast corner of the state. In 2017, the structural engineers with Shuck-Britson, a subsidiary of Snyder & Associates, were enlisted to develop a plan for remodeling and expanding the existing construction offices and materials lab to accommodate the agency’s growing needs.

The plan devised by the Shuck-Britson team combined concrete, cold-formed steel, masonry, and timber structural elements to provide a one-of-a-kind office building and materials lab for the District 5 staff. Divided into two phases, the first portion of the plan aimed to remodel the existing 4,000 square foot, wood-framed materials lab and expand it with an additional 2,200 square feet of space. The addition utilized the lab building’s existing structure by matching the wood framing. The design also developed a strategy for framing the lab addition to avoid overloading the existing structure and foundations.

This construction method allowed the team to leave the existing structure in place and more cost-effectively build the new addition and merge the exterior siding and rooflines to appear as one united building. The materials lab phase of the project had an accelerated schedule to allow DOT staff to occupy the building before the upcoming construction season began.

Construction Offices Gain New, Modern Structure with Open Spaces

office space with high ceilings within recently complete contemporary iDOT facility in Fairfield, IA

High ceilings and exposed steel framing create a warm, comfortable environment in the office building’s second floor.

Situated adjacent to the newly expanded lab building, phase two of the project focused on the construction of a new, 15,000 square foot, two-story office building. Designed to house the construction staff for District 5, the building is supported by structural steel framing, composite floors, and lightweight steel joists. This unique use of framing and flooring allowed for large open spans and high ceilings to create an open atmosphere for the new office building.

The second floor and roof deck was developed using an architectural and acoustical metal deck material and can serve multiple purposes for staff. Because of its prominent, exposed location in the building, it also adds to the overall aesthetic of the structure. The masonry walls near the elevator and staircases were used as lateral supports for the building’s structure to save on steel connections and provide additional openings for windows.

This newly expanded DOT facility is designed to accommodate steady growth within the District 5 territory for many years. The visually-appealing, staff-friendly quarters presents employees with ample collaboration space and provides adequate equipment storage for the district moving forward.