Phased Construction

Phased Construction

SMU’s Fondren Library Complex consists of four buildings, each constructed separately over four decades. The university hired Vaughn to modernize and transform the disjointed complex into a cohesive learning environment while keeping the complex operational.

We scheduled the work as two projects running concurrently, one for renovations and one for system upgrades and integration. Then we divided the work into three major phases consisting of multiple sub-phases. In each sub-phase we relocated occupants, installed and tested life safety systems, renovated spaces, then turned them over for use before moving on to the next phase.

Phase One

  • Upgraded four stairwells and five elevators, one at a time, in library’s original west wing
  • Expanded a 1940 elevator shaft to receive modern equipment by demolishing nine levels of the central book stack, floor by floor through the roof
  • Installed 280,000 SF of life safety equipment as each space was being renovated then integrated all spaces into a central safety notification system
  • Relocated library’s special collections to the central book stacks, a floor at a time, and air tested each system before hydro testing to protect the books.

Phase Two

  • Installed eight drop ceilings, a section at a time, between ornamental ceilings, to house new LED lighting and life safety equipment, then restored finishes of historic Centennial Reading Room
  • Converted turnstile grand entry to a modern vestibule, salvaging existing ornamental finishes, and reinstalling them after conversion was complete
  • Expanded exhibit space in the Hillcrest Exhibit Hall by installing display systems, then added drop ceilings to house life safety  equipment
  • Secured library’s special collections by installing door access and security controls

Phase Three

  • Enhanced computer support by installing new electrical connections and a media wall
  • Updated Learning Commons by building infrastructure for Starbucks Café
  • Renovated the library’s third and fourth floors to provide study space, storage, and a special collections reading room
  • Upgraded 18 air handling units, in some cases, disassembling them, replacing the heating and cooling elements, and reassembling them in place, before integrating them into the new building automation system
  • Installed a new chilled water pump and new electrical services

The newly renovated Fondren Library now offers dual support to the campus and the community with both collaborative and individual study space, secured storage, expanded exhibit space, and administrative space. Supported by the newly integrated building automation system, the complex truly functions as a seamless environment.


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