Benjamin E. Mays High School, renovated by Uzen & Case Engineers, LLC, is one of a number of local projects and engineers that are being honored by the Georgia Society of Professional Engineers during Engineer Week, Feb. 10-17.
"Mays High School represents how an aged building can be transformed into a modern learning facility through creative engineering at a fraction of the economic and environmental cost of replacing the entire facility," said engineer Jim Case.
The completely renovated 340,000 square-foot facility includes a new media center, cafeteria, entry lobby, theater, practice gym and four new career-based academies.
"A student sitting in the new media center at May's High School, looking out through its 60-foot-tall glass curtain wall into the courtyard, while bathed in natural light from the clearstory windows just below the roof; itself supported by elegant cable-stayed steel king post trusses, would find it hard to imagine how this space was experienced by his or her older siblings only a few short years before," notes Case. "Prior to the renovation this space had no view of the courtyard or the sky above. The low ceiling consisted of drop in tiles and fluorescent lights. In short the space was dark, disorienting, devoid of natural light and not conducive to learning."
In order to accomplish the transformation Uzun & Case Engineers, working in close collaboration with Perkins + Will Architects, had to overcome a myriad of challenges associated with modifying and renovating a 30-year-old structure, Case noted. These challenges included devising a new lateral resisting system, reinforcing the existing floors with carbon fiber reinforced polymer wraps and external post tensioning and performing sophisticated fire analyses to meet the fire rating requirements of the current building code.