OTIE teamed with Plunkett Raysich Architects and JP Cullen for renovations to the Meriter Women & Infants Center to accommodate the need for mother and infant care facilities in light of an anticipated increase in demand.

The structural engineering scope of work served to support new programming space for the care facility. The design called for new corridor paths for a minimized, expedient, and direct route through the facility. OTIE’s structural team had to design new floor and wall openings for mechanical and electrical systems and closing of existing floor and wall openings. In addition, new mechanical equipment was added to an existing, suspended concrete floor structure.

The 36,000 SF renovation provided our structural engineers with a unique challenge. The seven-story, 1920s-era building has undergone seven major renovations over the last 15 years, including a vertical expansion. These separate renovations meant that OTIE’s structural engineers had to carefully track structural loads from renovation to renovation and adjust to numerous unknown conditions. Our engineers worked very closely with the rest of the A/E team and the contractor to provide the best solutions to these unknown conditions.

As the building and spaces under renovation remained open for the duration of the project, the team was also challenged with keeping fire alarm systems active and egresses open to allow continued safe use of the facility.

OTIE’s structural engineers, James Hall, PE, SE, and Todd Donkle, PE, SE, commented on how much they enjoyed working on this project:

The structural aspects of this project were challenging. Nevertheless, working with JP Cullen proved a positive experience, with communication being the major reason for that. Also, we appreciated how proactive the MEP contractors were in seeking approvals for cutting holes in the existing structure. Again, communication was key!

Photos courtesy of JP Cullen