Category: Historic Restoration
Location: Madison, WI
Size: 71,300 sq. ft.
Masonry Used: 79,223 pcs-bricks, 535 pcs-stones, 300 sq.ft.-bricks saved and reused, and 19,379 sq. ft.-cleaned bricks.
Submitted by: J.P. Cullen & Sons, Inc.

Project Description

The Education Building on historic Bascom Hill serves as a home for the University of Wisconsin's School of Education. This 111-year-old Beaux Arts architectural style building was originally built to house the College of Engineering at UW-Madison. Today, the building has undergone a renovation and addition to renew its historic characteristics and prepare it to meet the School of Education's dedication to teaching, learning and research. The project's blend of preservation and new construction transformed a tired, old-fashioned structure into a thriving and innovative building to yet again be a welcoming focal point for the University.

Construction began with a renovation of 71,300 square-feet, which included the demolition of 17,000 square-feet that was originally added in 1950 to house the University's Art Department. Next, was a 36,700 square-foot replacement addition of approximately four stories, a basement and sub-basement that are located on the building's East side. These projects were focused around enhancing the building's historical character, extending the building's useful life, and showcasing how to perform careful renovations on historic buildings.

Prior to beginning the new addition, the original building needed several sections underpinned. Certain portions of the exterior facade had to be saved by utilizing the underpinning method as well. After stabilizing the facade it was cleaned and restored. Much of the restoration included the tuck-pointing of deteriorated limestone and terra cotta Dutchman and mortar repairs. About fourteen pieces of new terra cotta were seamlessly shaped to provide a facelift to the deteriorated portions. The mortar repair required exact color matching to ensure a smooth patch. Several pieces were taken off and sent to California to get an exact match. Along with the mortar repairs the front masonry steps were fixed as well.

Throughout the restoration many cost saving methods were incorporated. For instance, 300 square-feet of masonry face brick was salvaged from demolished sections of the building and were used on specific repairs. This cost saving system allowed some areas of the building to be reconstructed in order to flawlessly fill in doorways and windows that were no longer a part of the timeless appearance. Since the building's mission is to sustain a long and useful life after this renovation, the limestone foundation was dug up, parged and waterproofed to ensure this kind of work would not be necessary again.

When it came time to incorporate the new addition many distinctive methods were integrated to ensure the building encompassed the same characteristics that this historic site is known for. One existing wall from the original structure was left in place from the portion of the building that was demolished to incorporate the new addition.

Ornate jack arches were constructed to match existing adjacent masonry. Specific masonry was laid at 1/8" joints to coincide with the original masonry of the building. This intricate method of masonry takes elaborate workmanship skills. The addition had a concrete structural frame with Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU) infill and brick veneer skin. Exterior materials, such as pink/grey brick, northern pink-buff Kasota limestone, and dark-bronze anodized aluminum metal panels were selected to harmonize with the existing exteriors.

Along with the exterior restoration, the interior had some updating as well. A thirty-foot brick fireplace was built into the new addition as well as stone planters and retaining wall caps on the garden roof. The building also had thirty-foot tall columns on the first level of the terrace. The Education Building's renovation and addition has allowed this historic building to once again display its enduring charm and beauty for years to come.

Project Participants

Owner: Division of State Facilities

  • Architect/Desinger: James VanderHeiden, Hammel, Green & Abrahamson, Inc.
  • Structural Engineer: Brian Genduso, Hammel, Green & Abrahamson, Inc.
  • General Contractor: Larry Rocole, J.P. Cullen & Sons, Inc.
  • Masonry Contractor: Todd Christensen, J.P. Cullen & Sons, Inc.
  • Masonry Supplier: Stephanie Padavona, Gladding McBean
  • Masonry Supplier: Tom Benoy, County Materials
  • Masonry Supplier: Mike Rolf, Quikrete Wisconsin
  • Landscape Architect: Jessie Fink, JJR
  • Other: Tim Schmidt, Stonecast
  • Other: Chris Quandt, Bachmann Construction
  • Other: Steve Leslie, Mankato Kasota Stone, Inc.