Our experience in the municipal sector ranges from major renovations of existing historic buildings, to the design of new courthouse and administrative office buildings. We can provide engineering services for towns and cities to meet any structural needs – big or small. Typically those facilities have been located in South Carolina, but we have engineers licensed in forty-eight states to meet our client’s needs.
Many communities in South Carolina have existing historic buildings and courthouses that are unique and have become an essential part of their identity. As more and more historic structures are lost, the value of these buildings to those communities has become more pronounced. Fuller Group has worked with prominent architects to restore and strengthen many of these structures. Working with timber and masonry that can be over 150 years old has a unique set of challenges. Our engineers have a strong background in working with those materials and can provide unique solutions to enhance the structures and restore them to their original grandeur, while also adding many years of future service.
In addition, many cities are growing and find they are in need of newer, more modern facilities. Fuller Group has experience in designing modern courthouses and office buildings to meet any growing government’s needs. These projects include a new courthouse in Walhalla, SC, as well as new administration buildings for Anderson, Laurens and Greenville County governments. Fuller Group’s long history of the design of commercial and municipal buildings allows us to evaluate different structural systems with the purpose of providing the best solution for each unique facility. We design our structures to be safe and resilient for many years to come.
Historic Anderson County Courthouse
Fuller began work on the Historic Anderson County Courthouse in 2019 and the work is still ongoing. This beautiful courthouse was originally constructed in 1898 with major additions added in 1939. The original building is a three-story structure with load-bearing brick walls and framed with timber. The 1939 addition introduced the use of steel trusses along some of the primary support lines. As with any timber structure that is over 100 years old, the wood elements are subject to deterioration from exposure to the elements and potential insect damage.
Fuller has conducted an assessment of the structural condition of the timber elements and is providing recommendations for structural repairs and improvements. Fuller is also working with The BEE Group in providing building envelope evaluations and repair recommendations for the roof systems and façade elements. Construction is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2022.
Historic Laurens County Courthouse Renovation
Fuller Group is collaborating with architects Craig, Gaulden & Davis on the historic Laurens County Courthouse located in the central square in downtown Laurens, SC. The original structure was constructed in 1838. The building is a two-story structure, with concrete cast-in-place floors and a timber and steel roof system supported on load bearing brick walls.
The brick used in buildings in the mid-1800’s was often fired in kilns built on the job site and varied greatly in quality. In 1858, the building was expanded with wings added to the east and west. In 1911, the building was expanded further with additions to the wings in all four corners. New Palladian stairs were added to the north and south of the building, and a new low rise, elliptical dome was added to the roof.
Fuller has conducted structural assessments of the building and is working with the architect, and other consultants, to renovate and improve the current facility. Construction on this building is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2022.
The centerpiece of the massive one billion dollar Greenville County Square redevelopment is the new County Administrative buildings. RocaPoint Partners of Atlanta hired world renowned architects Foster + Partners and Nelson Worldwide to design a unique facility that will become the cornerstone of the community. Fuller Group, LLC was engaged to provide the structural engineering design of the new buildings and adjacent parking garage.
The architectural design created a number of challenges for the structural engineers. Two separate five story buildings were designed with an interior courtyard with the buildings being attached only at the roof, and with an open pedestrian bridge at the third level. The courtyard between the buildings is approximately 45 feet wide and 180 feet long, and is covered at the roof level with an ETFE canopy system that allows light in but shelters pedestrians from the rain. The roof eaves were also designed to cantilever beyond the buildings up to 25 feet while remaining as thin as possible. The desire for open floor plans, and for spandrel glass systems on all sides of the buildings limited the options for lateral bracing and shear walls in the building.
Fuller Group studied a number of alternative structural systems ultimately selecting a steel framed composite building system to best address the numerous design challenges and to meet the project’s budgetary constraints. To laterally brace the building, moment frames were designed using the proprietary Sideplate Systems for the critical connections. Due to poor soil conditions, Fuller also reviewed a number of shallow and deep foundation systems to support the building. An aggregate pier system installed by local contractor Wurster Betterground was selected for the ground improvement method to increase the bearing capacities for the foundations.
Currently under construction, the County Square Administration building is scheduled to open in 2023. Once the County moves their personnel into the new offices, the older buildings will be demolished, opening up the remaining 40 acres for upcoming development. The planners intend for the new County Square development to become a vibrant extension of the Greenville downtown community.
Oconee County Courthouse
The Oconee County Courthouse was completed in Walhalla, SC in 2003 to solve a burgeoning need for additional judicial courtrooms and offices in the growing County. At five stories, it immediately became the tallest building in the county, necessitating a need for the fire department to buy a truck with a taller ladder. The structure cost $14 million and included 58,400 square feet.
The structural system was a conventional steel frame with composite concrete floors on a poured concrete foundation system. Fuller Group utilized internal steel bracing combined with concrete shear walls around the stair and elevator cores to resist wind and seismic loads.
The project was completed in partnership with the architect firm FJ Clark, Inc.