Spotlight on Southwestern Illinois: Architecture and Engineering
Quality Testing and Engineering, Inc., Wesclin High School, Trenton
By KATE GENO
Quality Testing and Engineering, Inc. is providing geotechnical engineering and construction material testing services for the construction of the new $23.5 million Wesclin High School, part of Wesclin Community School District 3 in Trenton.
Partnered with the project’s civil engineer, Neikirk Engineering, QTE started geotechnical work on the school site in 2011. When the team drilled into the soil to determine its consistency, it found challenging conditions to contend with including shallow groundwater, wet soil and a flat low-lying site.
“Neikirk Engineering was a pleasure to work with because they understood the complications that arose due to the difficult soil conditions. Their experience and understanding of construction helped make the process proceed very smoothly,” says Michael Widman, owner and president of Quality Testing and Engineering, Inc.
Due to the difficulties of the high-plastic clay soil, QTE recommended chemically treating it with lime to improve the stability of the soil conditions. Without this treatment, the stability of the foundations and slabs can be compromised. This process took approximately two months to complete.
“When the Holland Construction Services team came on board to start construction in 2012, they were aware of the challenging conditions and were able to keep the momentum on the project moving forward,” says Widman.
At the same time construction began, QTE technicians were on site to begin material testing. The technicians observed the chemical treatment of the soil and performed tests during the placement of concrete for the foundations, footings and slabs. They also observed some of the other heavy building materials used and their placement.
FGM Architects specified an insulated tilt-up concrete wall system for the 120,000-square-foot school structure. This system enables contractors to insulate the panels during their construction.
“This was the first project in which our team was involved with an insulated tilt-up system,” says Widman. “It was a smart choice for this project and interesting to observe. This style of tilt-up must be gaining popularity as we have seen two more designed since the inception of this project.”
Wesclin High School is currently under construction with a completion date of summer 2014 to open for the 2014-2015 school year.