Mid-Atlantic Steel, LLC fabricated and erected the steel frame on display in the new career center for the Community College of Philadelphia. In the latest issue of Modern Steel Construction, Tom Forsberg, PE of SCHRADERGROUP and Melissa Boulden, PE of Mid-Atlantic Steel, describe the project and examine issues with AESS, constructability, and project collaboration.

From Modern Steel Construction:

The school’s stated goal for its new steel-framed Career and Advanced Technology Center (CATC) is to bring career training and community building to the forefront of the city’s neighborhoods through state-of-the-art facilities, support for local entrepreneurship, and hand-on learning experiences for in-demand careers. Specifically, the four-story, 74,000-s.-ft building’s course offerings focus on career readiness and creating a thriving workforce in the city’s transportation, manufacturing, and healthcare fields.

With structural visibility as an integral component of the design, steel was the logical choice to frame the new facility, and the design team participated in myriad conversations about exposed connections, round hallow structural sections (HSS) for bracing, slab edge framing for atria and mezzanines, and architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS) considerations in general early in the process.

Steel also made sense for the project thanks to its flexibility in terms of geometry and framing bay dimensions. The new facility houses a wide array of equipment supporting its various educational programs—automotive and diesel technology, manufacturing, welding, and healthcare—with each program space designed around the task-specific equipment, requiring considerable push and pull in terms of building and grid dimensions.