Bridgewater State University, George A. Weygand Residence Hall

Bridgewater, MA
Massachusetts State College Building Authority
Hill International
$49 million

George A. Weygand Hall is a 149,000-square-foot student residence building located on the East Campus of Bridgewater State University. Delivered under a Chapter 149A public construction management at-risk delivery model, the building houses 500 student beds organized into two wings. The South Wing contains four- and six-bed suites located along a double-loaded corridor, while the North Wing’s suites follow a single-loaded corridor adjacent to Living/Learning Pods that overlook the building’s central courtyard. Dubbed “Residential Learning Community Suites,” students apply to live in the North Wing where they can co-habitate with students who share similar interests and areas of study, like mathematics, foreign language, fitness or community service. The building’s ground floor contains common rooms, seminar rooms, and the new 10,000-square-foot Health and Counseling Center, which provides an array of campus-wide services.

Built around a structural steel frame and supported by geo-piers, Weygand Hall provides critical residential space for the growing university. The building’s South Wing is composed of traditional, locally-produced red brick. The North Wing’s façade is a mixture of glass curtainwall and phenolic rain screen panels, which mimic the weathered siding of other structures in the area. Fritted glass and fiberglass window frames control building temperatures, as does the use of reflective roof materials. The entire facility is structured around a courtyard, where landscaping and tiered seating create a green meeting place for Weygand Hall residents and commuters from the neighboring parking garage. Most of the Weygand Hall construction had to take place while the university was in session, and the team developed logistics and mitigation plans that made student, faculty and visitor safety top priority. All employees attended a thorough safety orientation, and all safety protocols and practices were tracked through the tablet-based BIM 360 program.

When studies revealed that existing soils would not support a conventional foundation system without the installation of piles, the Hill team suggested using geo-piers.  These compacted-gravel piles provided a conventional foundation and a stable base, yet were half the cost of traditional piles.

When bids for the project’s curtainwall were above budget, the CM team recommended an alternate procurement strategy, and worked with a regional manufacturer on a curtainwall that fit both the building program and the budget, yielding a $1 million savings.

Environmental sustainability was integral to the project.  Notably, 72 geothermal wells were drilled to provide heating and cooling to the building, reducing energy costs by 54 percent. Other energy-savers include external shading devices, enhanced insulation, high-performance thermally broken fiberglass window frames, and “kill-switches,” which disable the thermostat when windows are open. The team’s efforts yielded a LEED Gold Certification for Weygand Hall.  


Collaborative use of the tablet-based BIM 360 was integral to monitoring the project schedule, budget and QA/QC process. Team members could work from a common platform and see—or make--updates in real time. Access to BIM 360 was available anywhere on the site.  This technology was particularly helpful during the installation of the building’s curtainwall and façade elements, allowing the team to anticipate and mitigate risk quickly. It also paved the way for a highly efficient punchlist process.

To ensure quality installation prior to fabrication, the team created mock-ups for installation of every building element. These mock-ups were crucial, as many of the building elements were prefabricated off-site to better facilitate the 15-month, fast-track schedule. The mock-ups allowed the team to develop a quality standard well before installation was underway.

BIM also was integral to the schedule.  All MEP/FP systems, for example, were modeled in 3-D to identify and resolve conflicts and clashes prior to structural erection. Plumbing risers and pipe racks were modeled to maximize their efficient prefabrication, saving both money and time. Also, the BIM models included detailed information on clearance and access zones, which was passed on as a valuable tool for the building’s facility managers.  

The building project was complex: 500 student beds configured in both suites and living/learning clusters; the university-wide student health services facility; common meeting and conference spaces; and staff apartments.  The site for the building was even more complex:  it is adjacent to two other residence halls; a central dining commons; an intramural athletic field; an 850-space parking structure; and the MBTA commuter rail Bridgewater station stop and parking lot.  It was incumbent upon {the CM team} to maintain a safe and simple pedestrian detour route for the numerous members of the campus community that made use of these adjacent facilities throughout the construction period.  The building project included a rigorous program for energy efficiency, including a field of 72 geothermal wells for the heating and cooling plant, valence units to distribute heating and cooling in the student rooms, efficient lighting and innovative controls, and emergency power to support sustained student use on the event of a power failure. The (CM) team dealt with each setback that is inevitable in construction—inclement weather, material delays, subcontractor performance, and owner changes—in a pleasant, creative and efficient manner, so that the budget and schedule could be maintained without compromising quality.

Edward H. Adelman


Massachusetts State College Building Authority