Established in 1894, Chatham Hall is an all girls' Episcopal boarding and day school in Chatham, Virginia. The school prepares its students for college by providing an innovative academic program that includes Advanced Placement courses, global study and travel, and project based learning. Graduating classes average approximately 50 each year, and alumnae include the esteemed Georgia O'Keeffe, Claudia Emerson, and Ann Taylor.
When the original entry bridge to the school was deemed structurally deficient and beyond repair or rehabilitation, it needed to be replaced. Not only did the school want to restore the integrity of the stream crossing, but it was also imperative that the structure have an aesthetic appearance. Hill Studio, the project's architect, envisioned its replacement as an arch bridge with brick features, reflecting the character and history of the surrounding buildings.
"We were looking for a stream crossing option that was cost effective, yet beautiful," stated Gretchen B. Clark, P.E., President with Reynolds-Clark Development, Inc. "The gateway to Chatham Hall needed to match the timeless beauty of the buildings on campus and construction had to be completed over summer break. A BEBO arch from Contech Engineered Solutions was the best choice to fit all of these requirements."
Contech worked with the consultant team to evaluate several options before selecting a 20' x 7' BEBO® E-Series Bridge Concrete Arch System, 32' in length, as the best replacement option. Selected for its quick design and installation, superior durability, and attractive appearance, the new structure also featured a security fence and 5' tall headwalls designed to withstand accidental, vehicular impact. The entire structure was clad in a brick veneer supported by a steel lintel anchored on the face of the exterior arches. The curved wingwall features were designed independent of the structure.
The project's main challenge was that the demolition of the original structure followed by the installation of the replacement structure needed to occur within a nonnegotiable, three month schedule while school was not in session. Contech Engineered Solutions worked with the consultant team to evaluate several options. The entire bridge, including the arches and headwalls, was installed via crane in just one day.
"Contech's representative was great to work with," concluded Clark. "He met the design team on site several times and we had many coordination calls. He was with me every step of the way to make sure this bridge opened on-time. I highly recommend Contech and their arch systems. In fact, the entire Chatham Hall community and Town of Chatham residents were thrilled with the outcome of this project. It was completed on time, and it enhanced the arrival experience to campus."