The Pennsylvania State University - Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building

Reading, PA
The Pennsylvania State University
Alvin H. Butz, Inc.
$19.8 Million

Design Team Turn over: The architectural firm of record went through a transition in ownership during the project. This resulted in staff turnover; the Project Architect and support staff changed three times during the construction period. Butz took the lead in smoothing over the transitions and assumed many of the roles and responsibilities of the architectural firm.

Student Involvement: In order to mitigate the disruption that construction projects cause on a college campus and enhance the student experience, Butz took great efforts to make the project a learning tool for the campus and involved student participation whenever possible. The Butz team volunteered their time to participate in many student functions and career days. Working with Penn State, we developed the curriculum for a spring semester class that held a competition to develop the wording and design of all the LEED signage. The resulting signage was spectacular and enhances the sustainability awareness of all who enter the building.

We exceeded all project goals.

Completed three months early.

Realized a project savings of over $200,000, identified early enough allowing PSU to add additional scope to the project.

Achieved 17% WBE/MBE participation.

Achieved a Gold LEED rating.


The rain screen construction was new to the entire team and required absolute precision in all dimensions and details. The building design did not have the traditional air space between the façade and the building substrate so that the Z‐plane of the building became critical which challenged the layout and façade construction. Waterproofing the façade also became crucial since the skin of the building actually introduces water into the system. The project exemplified a true partnership with the subcontractors and architect. Together we worked out numerous details to ensure that there were no building leaks. The team spent countless hours mastering the mock‐up details before applying them to the building.

Mother Nature also challenged the team during all phases of the construction. We had a six‐week delay in the subsurface preparation due to an unanticipated amount of grouting and mini pile work. This was followed by an extremely hot summer, a record amount of snow fall topped off with one of the wettest springs in years. During the month of April, we had only 10 good weather days where we could work on the exterior of the building. Despite all of these complexities, the building was completed within schedule.

The LEED Gold Rating is just one example of the great results we got from the teamwork and enthusiasm that your construction management team brought to the table.

I could not pick a better team to overcome the many challenges that faced us throughout the 14 month construction period. You met your original aggressive schedule despite an unanticipated six weeks with the pressure grouting and mini-pile operation, severe winter weather and an extremely complex rain screen façade that nobody had experience with. Your attention to quality and detail was also commendable.

I laud your commitment to making our project an educational tool. Your idea to have students involved with designing the signage for the building produced results that nobody could have imagined. Your team’s insight to use the building to promote sustainability awareness to all visitors and occupants of the building will make a huge impact on our future generations.

Kim R. Berry, COO

Penn State Berks