Category: Institutional
Location: Oshkosh, WI
Size: 191,000 sq. ft.
Masonry Used: 393,000 pcs-norman bricks, 90,900 pcs-block back-ups, 30,000 pcs-partition blocks, and 6,000 pcs-burnish blocks.
Submitted by: J.P. Cullen & Sons, Inc.

Project Description

The new University of Wisconsin Oshkosh's Sage Hall is a state-of-the-art, four-story, 191,000-square-foot academic building that houses administrative, faculty and program offices for the College of Business as well as five departments and five programs for the College of Letters and Science. There are 27 high-tech classrooms, two lecture halls, 23 laboratories, along with breakout, study and project rooms. Sage Hall also houses a trading room to track global stocks and markets, a courtyard for the students to enhance their "Wisdom of Nature" and a green roof with a raised garden. The academic building will have a U.S. Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) Gold Rating.

From the start of construction, breaking new ground for UW-Oshkosh included cost and time-saving methods. The building's envelope had to be completely enclosed before winter. This meant that J.P. Cullen & Sons, Inc. (Cullen) had about five months to orchestrate the work of five masonry crews, of up to 50 masons, working off of hydro-mobile scaffolds around the clock. Two crews worked on the exterior of the building, while another crew worked on the exterior stone ahead of the brick veneer. Another masonry crew worked on the inner courtyard and the final of the five crews worked on the interior of the building concurrently. This innovative work system allowed Sage Hall to be completely enclosed during the harsh winter months to save the University on heating costs and provide safer working conditions. The exterior envelope commissioning process included, but was not limited to, the exterior wall systems and assemblies, glazed window, curtain wall systems and doors systems, interface conditions such as flashings, expansion joists, and sealant. Cullen utilized construction verification checklists for all masonry block back-up and brick veneer work to ensure that the system assemblies were not only being installed as designed, but that the quality was reviewed for every section that was built.

Innovative engineering was heavily incorporated throughout the design. A 400-foot radius wall was erected on the south side of the building, which combined precast and masonry. This radius wall and angular corners gave the building its identity, and since the faade of the building is not flat it allowed for a more eye catching expression. Along with the faade, the masonry was enhanced to embrace a brick that enriches a glazed finish. As the sun rises and sets over Sage Hall the brick literally shines to encompass the true meaning of the building, "Wisdom of Nature". Approximately 393,000 norman sized brick was placed at Sage Hall and if the brick were to have been laid end to end, the approximate size would have spanned over 74.4 miles long!

"Wisdom of Nature" or "Nature of Wisdom" is a common phrase displayed around the building. This unique display of workmanship is imprinted throughout the decorative cast stone panels located on the building's exterior. This charm not only gave the building its name, but also its character. The exterior is one example of where the building's personality can shine through, but the interior features, which include multiple color ground faced block, can shine as well. These blocks are located at the entrances of the lecture halls. The multiple color ground faced block really gave the interior of the building another bright sense of character for the entire student body who now attend the University's new Sage Hall.

Project Participants

Owner: Division of State Facilities

  • Architect/Desinger: Roger Retzlaff, Berners-Schober Associates, Inc.
  • Structural Engineer: John Miller, Nayyar & Nayyar International, Inc.
  • General Contractor: Larry Rocole, J.P. Cullen & Sons, Inc.
  • Masonry Contractor: Todd Christensen, J.P. Cullen & Sons, Inc.
  • Masonry Supplier: Jeff Aspenson, County Materials
  • Masonry Supplier: Tim Schmidt, Stonecast Products, Inc.
  • Masonry Supplier: Mike Rolf, Quikrete Wisconsin, Inc.
  • Landscape Architect: Sue Payne, Ken Saiki Design, Inc.