Moundville Archaeological Park Community Pavilion

Four Ladies and Some Power Tools

After Pig Roast, as we waited for final building approval from the Park, University of Alabama, and the represented Native American tribes, we jumped head first into detailing and learning the ins and outs of Enercalc, a structural engineering software, to go over with our consultant Joe Farrugia.

As we continued to study and make decisions on the aesthetics of the visible structure, we were also able to check and balance the structural requirements based off of the loads we recieved from Enercalc. These loads factored in the weight of structure, environmental factors (rain, wind, a small snow load, etc.), and structural qualities of Southern Pine lumber, our building material.

We built 1:1 mockups of possible footing details, looking at multiple factors such as column profile, distance from the bottom of the wood to ground, steel profile, steel width, bolt placement, and screw type and distribution. We spray painted plywood to represent the actual steel which will be galvanized (this actually tricked quite a few classmates that swore it was steel when they first saw them).

Once approval came in, we kicked July off with the craziest batter board set-up we’ve seen in our short careers. We laid out the roof outline first to ensure that we located the pavilion perfectly within the site. However, since our structure is all on a diagonal we pulled a skewed rectangle based off of the first truss line to locate all of the column footings accurately. After 3 days of fighting with the site’s hard dirt and building “extra” reinforced batter boards, we were successfully able to mark out all concrete foundations and have them dug with rebar placed ready for the pour the following week.

And within a week, we had our concrete footings!!

Concurrently, we ran the numbers on the structure and accurately spec’d each connection for the columns and trusses (we’re waiting for our structural engineering degrees, any day now). Once everything was 100% Joe-approved, we presented to Jim Turnipseed of Turnipseed International Steel who graciously provided all of our threaded rod, washers, nuts, and splice plates!

And viola, three weeks later and we have 5 beautiful trusses and 12 columns built and ready to be moved to site (column pictures to come)! Somewhere during that time we also squeezed in design work progressing the paving under the pavilion and we got our steel feet back from Turnipseed International and Super Metal Works here in Newbern.