Roberts Hall Wins Excellence in Construction Award

Oct 18, 2017

Kinsley was presented with ABC Central Pennsylvania Chapter’s Excellence in Construction Award for best General Construction Institutional project for the Roberts Hall Renovation at Bucknell University.

The 61,000-square-foot renovation of Bucknell University’s oldest residence hall transformed a traditional, four-story dormitory into a LEED-certified, modern residence life facility.

Dedicated in 1850 as the Main Building or Old Main, the four-story, 61,000-square-foot Daniel C. Roberts Hall is Bucknell University’s second oldest campus building. From December 2015 to August 2016, it underwent a renovation to become a modern residence life facility to house 136 students.

While maintaining the traditional character of the original building, the new facility has many upgrades:

Receiving LEED Silver designation by the U.S. Green Building Council, the project included energy-efficient windows, low-flow plumbing, room occupancy sensors, and a new aluminum, standing-seam roof.

For Bucknell to modernize their residence halls and keep up with trends across college campuses, Roberts Hall required an open layout. To create this open floor plan, the original scope of work included the installation of an interior steel structure to replace the masonry-bearing walls. The process was challenging and required careful sequencing because the steel could not be installed without removing the walls and vice versa.


As with many renovation projects, unknown conditions can wreak havoc on the construction schedule. This project was no different, except that we completed the project in the original schedule despite unforeseen scope changes.

One month into construction, damage to the floor planks was discovered. A structural engineering review determined that the entire floor system should be replaced with new metal decking and lightweight concrete. The process of removing the planks and installing new flooring added two months of additional scope to the schedule.

Another additional scope item involved the plaster walls. The original drawings called for the existing plaster walls to remain throughout the building. Due to damage caused by the extensive renovations, and poor condition of the original plaster, it was decided that completely covering the walls with drywall would be best for creating a smooth, even finish.


In Progress – Hallway with new metal decking being installed for new lightweight concrete installation, shows current condition of plaster walls and new steel installation.


In Progress – Hallway showing damaged walls that required additional framing and drywall work. All hallway walls were laminated with drywall to create a smooth, clean finish.


Site location proved to be another challenge. Roberts Hall is situated in a congested area of campus. Constant communication with the University and subcontractors was key to keeping students, staff and visitors safe, and to minimally disrupt campus life. During special events like graduation and finals week, we limited work hours to minimize disruption.

The tight site restricted our space for construction staging and laydown. Material deliveries were coordinated so items did not arrive too early and take up space. In addition, most construction material was taken to the place of installation immediately instead of being stored in bulk on site.

Protecting the site’s 100-year-old grove trees extended beyond the construction phase. To ensure tree health after construction completed, we performed air spading throughout the grove. This soil improvement process uses compressed air to break up compacted soil caused by construction activities.

Site Location – Roberts Hall, center, flanked by Trax and Kress Halls and surrounded by 100-year-old grove trees.


The project’s success can be attributed to the detailed sequencing, proactive communication and collaboration of the entire project team. By fast-tracking activities and working overtime, the additional scope items caused by unforeseen conditions were absorbed into the original eight-month schedule. Working together, the Roberts Hall renovation completed on-time, on-budget, with the highest level of quality, and no safety violations. – making it an award-winning project.

Finished hallway with new walls and floors.

The Associated Builders and Contractors’ Excellence in Construction Awards Program spotlights the quality construction performed by ABC members and celebrates the outstanding success achieved in the industry. Projects built by merit shop contractors who are committed to maintaining high performance standards are central to this national competition. Projects were judged on safety, innovation and design, technical ability, project management and quality of construction.

Categories: Completed Projects, Corporate News
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