Restoring a Building and the Public’s Trust: Courthouse Square Remediation (Salem, Oregon)

At its inception, The Courthouse Square Complex provided a central location for county government services and the local public transportation system. However, the building was evacuated due to life safety concerns regarding its structural integrity in 2010, only 10 years after its original construction. The complex owners observed distress, and hired architects and engineers to review, investigate, and analyze the building’s fitness for service. Ultimately, they deemed the structure unsafe to occupy. The evacuation displaced the services it once housed, scattering the services across the city and forcing the transit hub to move to surrounding city streets. The complex owners faced a difficult decision: whether to tear down the complex and start over at a significant increased cost, or repair the structure and assure the public, who were wary of its safety. They decided to fix the complex, and trusted its repair to the design-build team led by Structural Preservation Systems (Structural) and engineers from Pivot.

Engineers from Pivot were involved for the entire repair project, from proposal to re-opening ceremony. Pivot personnel performed a comprehensive investigation, analyzed the complex, designed repairs, and then worked with Structural to implement the design. The primary structural repairs included strengthening existing concrete columns by enlargements and fiber-reinforcement polymers (FRP), and strengthening existing slabs with bonded concrete overlays, drop panels, and shear caps. Just as important as the technical remediation, engineers from Pivot helped counter the negative public perception of the complex by undergoing a rigorous peer review and city permitting process, and participating in public forums.

The restored Courthouse Square Complex was re-opened in April 2014 – county services and local transit were reunited at the complex, as intended. The design-build team completed the remediation both on-time and within budget, and rebuilt public trust in the complex. The efforts culminated in the International Concrete Repair Institute (ICRI) awarding the project with a 2014 Award of Excellence.
Project Services:
Structural Assessment
Serviceability Improvements
Structural Repair and Strengthening Design
Nondestructive testing
Surface Penetrating Radar
Ultrasonic Pulse Velocity
Infrared Thermography
Corrosion Testing
Corrosion Rate
Half-Cell Potential
Concrete Resistivity