PASADENA, Texas — Before scheduled classes have even begun, San Jacinto College's new Anderson-Ball Classroom Building is winning awards. The 122,000-square-foot building, the nation's largest mass timber instructional building, was named Best Project, Higher Education/Research by a panel of industry experts for Engineering News-Record Texas & Louisiana. The project was nominated by construction partner Tellepsen Builders.
"We are excited to have the Anderson-Ball Classroom Building recognized by ENR and experts in the construction industry," said Charles Smith, associate vice chancellor of fiscal initiatives and capital projects. "This project was innovative in a host of ways and could not have been accomplished without the active communication and technical excellence of everyone who participated."
"Tellepsen was honored to be part of such a unique project," said Zach Moffitt, senior project manager for Tellepsen Builders. "As well as for our project to receive the ENR Texas & Louisiana 2022 Award for Best Project Higher Education/Research. The success in this project lies with the close working relationships and collaborative efforts between Tellepsen, Kirksey Architects, and San Jacinto College. We hope to see more and more mass timber being utilized in and around the City of Houston. The reduced carbon emissions and cleaner construction has a substantial impact on the industry and our community."
Mass timber — created by laminating wood layers together in either parallel or cross patterns — replaces conventional structural steel throughout the Anderson-Ball structure. Beautiful wood accents can be seen throughout the building, but in the main lobby, 40-foot laminated black spruce columns support double beams, which span the planked ceiling.
Additionally, the building boasts electrochromic windows, tubular daylighting, solar photovoltaic generation, gray water recycling, and Internet of Things connectivity.
The Anderson-Ball Classroom Building was built as part of the 2015 bond program to initially support math, pre-engineering, college prep, English, and humanities programs. The College received a $100,000 U.S. Forest Service University Mass Timber grant to defray the cost of learning how to approach projects of this type. San Jacinto College was the only community college recipient to receive this grant, in addition to eight Tier 1 research universities.
San Jacinto College worked with Tellepsen Builders and Kirksey Architecture to realize this project.
"In any project, it is the individuals, not the companies, who make things work. Both Tellepsen and Kirksey did a great job of assembling talented and engaged people to the team. And both ensured that all of their sub-contractors did the same very early on," said Smith.
The project beat a host of other submissions, including the UTSA Roadrunner Athletics Center of Excellence in San Antonio and the Dallas College Construction Sciences Building in Coppell, Texas, which earned awards of merit in the same category. All winning projects will be celebrated on Oct. 13 at the ENR Regional Best Projects event at the InterContinental Houston Medical Center.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, evolving industries, maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has served the people of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. San Jacinto College is among the top five community colleges in the nation as designated by the Aspen Institute for Community College Excellence, and was named an Achieving the Dream Leader College of Distinction in 2020. The College spans five campuses serving approximately 41,000 credit and non-credit students annually, and offers more than 200 degrees and certificates across eight major areas of study that put students on a path to transfer to four-year institutions or enter the workforce. San Jacinto College's impact on the region totals $1.3 billion in added income, which supports 13,044 jobs. The College is fiscally sound, holding bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor's and Moody's.