August 28, 2017
Saving Froelicher Hall: Goucher College’s Historic Building Move
Moving a historic home is already a challenge. But moving a historic college dorm? Stick around while Nick talks to Terence McCann, Jr., the Director of Facilities Management Services at Goucher College, where they are in the process of moving three out of four of the original buildings that make up Froelicher Hall. This move is historic in more ways than one, as it is also one of the biggest and fastest building move projects ever attempted. After the episode, you can check out live updates on the move here. This is PreserveCast.
[Nick Redding] In some ways, Goucher College may seem like a typical liberal arts college. A small and passionate student body, intelligent and caring professors, and a gorgeous historic campus. But when it came time to modernize the dorms on that campus, facilities director Terence McCann, Jr. took the college’s commitment to innovation in an environmental sustainability seriously. And that’s what has led to the move of Froelicher Hall, one of the biggest and fastest building moves ever attempted by a college or university. Stick around to learn more as we move on with this week’s Preserve Cast.
From Preservation Maryland Studios in the historic podcast district of Baltimore, this is Preserve Cast.
[Nick Redding] This is Nick Reading and you’re listening to Preserve Cast. Today we are joined in studio by Terence McCann, who is the director of facilities management at Goucher College, which is located in Baltimore County, Maryland. We brought Terence in today to talk with us about a pretty fascinating project, which is moving some historic structures. But in this case, no simple structure. We’re actually going to be talking about moving a large historic college dorm. So we’re really excited to have you in studio today, Terence. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself. Is this your first preservation project? What is it that you do for Goucher?
[Terence McCann] Yeah, good morning. It is not the first project that I’ve done as far as preservation; and at Goucher College I’ve been there a little over two years. And before that I was at the University of Maryland College Park. We did projects in which we were restoring and renovating historic buildings. The nature of a college campus that has been around for a while has very old buildings, and they have a lot of them, so in any project where we have a renovation or an addition, we’re usually looking to do some things to some older buildings.
[NR] So this is Froelicher Hall, and what is the history of these buildings? How old are they? Give us a little bit of background before we talk about the project itself.
[TM] Sure. Goucher College’s original campus is in downtown Baltimore. And the college decided to move out of the city and they found property up at that time, the Towson area. It was a little over 400 acres. Over time they stared building buildings and moving the campus. And Froelicher Hall was essentially the last residence hall that was required to move the rest of the campus to that location. And so the buildings were completed in 1950.
[NR] Okay, so we’re talking about buildings that at this point are 67 years old, I guess?
[TM] That’s correct.
[NR] And what kind of structures are they? What are they made out of? How did they put them together?
[TM] They’re block buildings and they have stone. There’s concrete trusses on the first floor. There’s steel trusses on the upper floors. There’s wood roof trusses at the top. They have clay tiled shingles.
[NR] So they have a little bit of everything?
[TM] They have a little bit of everything. High quality materials. When we talk clay tile shingle roofs and butler stone facade, they’re very nice materials.
[NR] And how big, just for people who are listening to get a sense for this, how many residents lived in the residence hall?
[TM] Froelicher Hall’s made up of four buildings. It’s shaped in a pinwheel shape in which you have Alcock, Gallagher, Tuttle, and Thormann. Now, the three buildings we’re moving is Alcock, Gallagher, and Tuttle and each building has about fifty-five beds, each of those buildings. And then the Thormann Center is – or was – attached to Tuttle. Well, we detached it from the Tuttle building and it housed offices and some classrooms and some rooms. But that building wasn’t going to be relocated with the other three.
[NR] Okay, so that one’s being demolished.
[TM] Right. That one is being demolished.
[NR]So take us a little bit through why we got to the point where we had to move them or even consider moving them. What’s happening at Goucher that participated this?
[TM] Sure. The campus, before I arrived, did a housing study and they were looking at what they should do for maybe building some new houses, renovating some existing housing, some dorms. And the plan told them to put a first-year village. The footprint of that first-year village would go where Froelicher Hall is today. And the campus was able to build one of those buildings without impacting Froelicher Hall but the next two buildings needed to go where Froelicher is. And the decision at that time was just to demolish Froelicher.
[NR] Okay. And then what happened? You said the decision at that time, so obviously, that’s changed a little.
[TM] Yeah, the decision at that time. When I arrived and I started evaluating some of the plan and looking at what was it that we were going to doing and looking at the Froelicher buildings. Just asking a few questions about the buildings, they seem to be in pretty good shape, good condition. It looked like the college had put a certain amount of investment in them over a number of years. So I started asking my team about what could we do to maybe save those buildings and what it would take and what would that look like. And that’s when it started.
[NR] So I mean, that’s the first thing everybody gets to financially, right?
[NR] Because you can probably move any building with the right amount of money. But that’s where it normally stops is because it becomes cost prohibitive. But in this case, I guess it made sense financially to actually pick these up? Or was is financially and sentimentally?
[TM] Yeah, a few things come in to play. We’re a very sustainable campus. We’re a green campus. We take that very seriously, it’s very important to us. So one of the things is this is a very sustainable approach. Let’s save the buildings, let’s divert everything that we would do to tear the down and haul it away. Let’s keep it. That’s one big way of looking at it. Another is what is the cost impact to keeping the buildings and moving the buildings? What type of investment is that? We know from what we’re doing with new buildings that it’s half the cost, right? So the cost of us to relocate the three buildings is half the cost it would be for us to do new buildings.
[NR] That’s significant.
[TM] That is a significant piece to the discussion.
[TM] But again, you have to think about a new building, a new room versus a building that’s 67 years old and not new. What does that mean?
[NR] Does it appeal to new students because students get pretty picky about their residence halls, right?
[TM] Right. And so everything in our plan for building out our first-year village targets new rooms, a new type of room and layout for our first-year students. And so that was part of the discussion. Keeping the buildings, moving the buildings, the cost of that. What is the historical significance of that? We have a lot of alum that have fond memories of living in those buildings and were happy to start hearing that we may keep them instead of demolish them. And so I think there’s a few things that played into a decision for us to go ahead and move them.
[NR]So what are they going to become once they’re moved? Are the going to remain residence halls?
[TM] Yeah, so they’ll remain residence halls. There’s three buildings, around 55 beds in each building and that’s really because they’re primarily doubles. There’s some singles mixed in to that but they’re primarily doubles. And the plan is to move them and keep them for another 50 years and use it as a residence hall.
How we change that in the future… Will they all remain doubles? Will be put them all in singles? Is there flexibility there for us in the future? There will be. For now, as we build out other residence halls we’ll use it primarily as it is today, which is a double environment.
[NR] Okay. Well, why don’t we take a quick break and then when we come back we can talk about the actual process of moving these because it’s pretty amazing what you guys were able to do there. So we’ll do that when we come back, right here on PreserveCast.
[Stephen Israel] Ahhh… August. It’s nearly over but I still have a little of that summer oom-pah-pah in me. And I think I know just the place to go to both that chases that summer feeling and feed my jonsing for cool Maryland history.
Did you know that Maryland’s Eastern Shore is home to the oldest family owned amusement park in the United States? Trimper’s Rides and Amusements was founded in 1893 and is still spinning today. Daniel and Margaret Trimper owned two hotels, The Sea Bright and The Eastern Shore, just three years after arriving in Ocean City, Maryland in 1890. The Trimpers were and continue to be an integral part of the beach community. Back in the day, the Boardwalk was only a temporary summer hangout and not a permanent structure. And Daniel Trimper was one of the original residents who would go out and lay down wooden boards every summer to create a waterside promenade. He’d also go out and pack up all the boards to store for the winter, too.
After a storm damaged the shore in 1900, the Boardwalk was rebuilt as a yearround fixture. And the Trimpers, who’s hotel, the Sea Bright was damaged in the storm as well, saw an opportunity and decided to rebuild that hotel in the style of Windsor Castle in England. Their hotels, amusement park, and theater went on to be known as the Windsor Resort for some time. Twelve years after the storm, Daniel purchased a 50 ft Herschell-Spillman carousel, which still operates in the park today. A classic piece of American art and entertainment combined, when it was installed it was one of the biggest carousels in the country. The park expanded over the century to include a haunted house designed and built by a Ringling Brothers art director, a Ferris wheel, and several other rides and shops. In the 1980s they go their first roller coaster.
Today it is owned and operated by the fifth generation of Trimpers. While over a century has passed since its founding, parts of the park remain the same. Visitors can still can get spooked in the haunted house or enjoy the beauty and the novelty of the antique rides and ticket booths, all in working condition that are spread throughout the indoor portion of the park. Well, that’s it for me. I’ve got to hurry if I’m going to catch those final summer rays and you’ve got to get back to PreserveCast.
Do you have questions? We may have answers. If at any point during this podcast you thought of a question that you have for us or maybe one of our guests, we’d love to hear about it. You can send an e-mail to email@example.com and we’ll try and answer it right here on the air on the next episode of PreserveCast.
[NR] This is Nick Redding. You’re listening to PreserveCast, today we are joined by Terrance McCann who is the director of facilities management at Goucher College in Baltimore County, Maryland. And when we took our break we just heard about Froelicher Hall and the plan to move it. Why they made the decision to move it which was a multi-filled decision, both financial and sentimental and sustainable. And we know it’s going to become a residence hall once it moves again; but take us through the process of figuring out how you move this. I presume you’ve consulted with some experts. You just didn’t throw it in the back of a pickup truck. You had to hire someone to help out with this.
[TM] Yeah, that’s correct. Once we had a few conversations about what it is we might do to move buildings, the next step was to engage in some professionals. We were currently finishing up our first building in the first year village. So Selz Hall, which has been completed, which opened up in the Fall of 2016. [It] was at the end of being completed; and we had Whiting-Turner, our contractor there, and Ayers Saint Gross, our architect there also. That was the team that we had there for that project. And, of course, they’re the team that are building the other two buildings, which right now we call 1B and 1C, because there’s not a name.
So I walked in the Whiting-Turner trailer one day and project manager John Lawrence, I sat down and had a conversation with him, just trying to talk through some options. And asked Whiting-Turner, “Do you have a subcontractor who moves buildings?” And of course John at that point said, “I’m not sure, let me go look. I’ll get back with you.” And so a couple days later John called me and said, “We found a contractor, this is what they do. They move large structures. We’re going to ask and see if they want to come down and look at the Froelicher Hall buildings and see if we can move them.” And at the same time, I started to engage with Ayers Saint Gross. I said, “Hey, we’re thinking about doing this. We’ll probably come to the table in the next few days if we get a good response from the contractor coming down to look in and see if we can move the buildings.”
[NR] So the contractor comes down and I guess they gave it a clean bill of health in terms of moving it?
[TM] Yes, they looked at the buildings and the makeup of the buildings, their location, their elevation. Because the contractor needs to get underneath the buildings to do work in order to lift them and move them.
[NR] Jack them up.
[TM] And so they said, “Yeah, we can do this.”
[NR] And who was the firm that helped you actually move it?
[TM] So Wolfe House & Building Movers, they’re located in Pennsylvania. They came down, they talked with us about the potential to do that, and then I circled back with the team. We sat down with Whiting-Turner, Ayers Saint Gross, Goucher College, starting talking through our options, what it would take to obviously design new foundations. Because essentially you’re cutting away the utility and the foundation from the existing buildings and that’s what you need at your new location. So we were looking to see what it would take to put utilities over to the new location and –
[NR] And you need the space too for the new–
[TM] The space, right. And Ayers Saint Gross looking at the three buildings and their orientation and looking at what is the space on campus we have to do that, and then utility required, and the new foundations to set the building on.
[NR] Right. So how far do they have to move?
[TM] They’re moving about 500-800 feet. One’s closer than the other.
[NR] And as we talk right now, have they all moved yet?
[TM] So Alcock and Gallagher have moved. They are on their new foundations.
[NR] So take us through that process. What happens? From start to finish, how long did it take? What did they do?
[TM] Right. So Whiting-Turner’s team shows up, they start taking grade around the foundation, right? They start pushing, pulling, and digging out around the building and getting down to the elevation that the contractor needs to start putting beams underneath the building. So they make penetrations into the foundation wall. They start needling these beams through underneath the building. It’s a web of steel essentially, and they position all that steel under the building. And then they have these hydraulic jacks, and they hook it to this giant machine, and they start lifting the building off its existing foundation.
[NR] So did everybody hold their breath when that happened? Because in theory and mathematically it should all work, but then there’s the reality where you just don’t know what’s going to happen in the real world.
[TM] Absolutely. If you’ve properly supported the building according to your engineer on all the points that you need to support the building in order to lift it, if that is done properly then yes, you have a lift and they need to lift it about five, six feet up in order to put their wheels under it.
[NR] Right. And that lifting process took a day? A couple days?
[TM] Yeah, so the prep takes about two and a half weeks. Once they’re ready it takes about a day if they get started early, it could bridge two days to lift. But about a day to lift. Once it’s lifted, they have to support that lift and they have to bring their jacks out and they have to put their wheels in. And then they have to bring that structure down onto those wheels, in which then at that point they could pull a lot of their cribbing and their support out, everything rests on the wheels in order to roll the building. And so when you talk about two and a half weeks to prep, day to lift, about another week to get it in a place where it can roll and then making sure that the pathway where the building starts from and where it ends is properly built.
[NR] Now, we’ve talked to people before on PreserveCast who do house movement. We’ve talked to some folks in North Carolina who have done this but they’re talking about moving – maybe not a shack. Bu,t I mean, we’re talking about a small single family like a cottage or something like that. And they pulled that with the truck. How do you pull this giant you’re talking about? You talked about that it has stone and cinder block and ceramic tiles, I mean, that sounds heavy.
[TM] Yeah, it’s about 1,200 tons. There is a machine that’s mounted to the side of the building which is, essentially, the amount of the steel that they have in place and the wheels are connected to this machine. So it’s hydraulic, right? There’s no pushing or pulling. It is operated by, essentially, if you can imagine, it’s a little controller the guy has, right? He has an eight-inch by four-inch control panel that he has, that he carries with him and he walks alongside the building as he moves it forward. And again we build a temporary path, right? A temporary road with asphalt knowing that we have to have to-
[NR] To level it all up, everything.
[TM] – level it off and make sure that it is a good straight path to this new foundation and it can support the building and the wheels as it rolls to that new foundation.
[NR] Wow, so it moved! The two that you’ve done, it went without a hitch? No problems along the way?
[TM] No, they moved according to plan. They moved over the new foundation and then once you get over that new foundation, there’s a lot of work to do. You have to lift the building again a little bit to get the wheels out, support it and then you have to actually lower it to its final elevation, and then your mason comes in and blocks up to that existing building from the new foundation.
[NR] So has that all been done or you?
[TM] It’s all been done on Alcock and Gallagher. Once that has been done and everything is good to go, essentially, we can bring out all the rest of the cribbing and steel that’s still under the building supporting it until that new foundation is complete. Then the contractor can pull all that out and we can start going back in there and doing all the work to connect all the utility.
[NR] So have you been back in this building now?
[TM] Yes – Alcock and Gallagher – all the steel has been removed and currently, we are connecting all the utility. We have a lot of work to do to put water and sewer and power and –
[NR] Right. Now, I imagine – I mean, most people listening to this would be curious – you go in. Are there a lot of cracks, are there things broken or was it in pretty good shape?
[TM] Pretty good shape. We monitor if any hairline cracks are noticeable. We monitored those. No real issues with Alock or Gallagher.
[NR] Now, will they plaster on the inside or dry wall or -?
[TM] There’s a combination over time. There’s been some minor things done. So you have some walls have drywall, lot of walls have plaster.
[NR] How did that all hold up?
[TM] It held up great.
[NR] Really? And are you taking that out or are you gutting it?
[TM] No, we are doing very limited work in the interior of the buildings. One is the timing, right? So had students move out May 15th, at the end of the semester. We brought our contractor and they started working and our deadline is August 15th, the week of August 15th to be completed.
[NR] To be livable?
[TM] To be livable.
[NR] So you picked up and moved a building making it livable by August 15th?
[TM] That is our project schedule currently. It’s a very drastic schedule.
[NR] I’m in the process of redoing a kitchen right now and I don’t think I could do it that fast, so my hat’s off to you. We had 200 square feet of kitchen to redo and I think it’s taken as long as you to move Froelicher Hall [laughter].
[TM] So I would imagine you could get that kitchen done in a couple of days if you had ten of you to do it, right?
[TM] That’s probably… If I had Whiting-Turner and Ayers Saint Gross I think I probably be in good shape.
[TM] Yeah. And it’s just a matter the amount of subcontractors we have in the buildings doing all the work. And there’s a lot of exterior things that have to be done –
[NR] Now what role do you have in all of this? I mean, obviously Whiting-Turner is acting as your general contractor and then Ayes Saint Gross is your architect but you’re kind of behind the scenes driving it to make sure that you hold that deadline, is that –
[TM] Correct. In that role, any facilities management team that has a role of delivering projects for our campus, yes, that’s our role, right? We select the team that we need to do what we need to do and then we need to keep them within that schedule, within that budget and hit our targets. And so, yeah, my team right now is working very hard with them to ensure we meet our schedule.
[NR] So this interview for – I mean sometimes our PreserveCast episodes come out a little bit after we do the interview but we’re doing this on July 31st right now and you said August 15. Anything keeping you up at night about getting it done by August 15?
[TM] Well, there could be a number of things that keep you up at night. We’re just pushing forward to putting as many folks in there and as for as many hours as we can to meet our schedule. Of course, there’s a balancing act working with the County and Baltimore County’s been great working with us.
[NR] Right. Because you need to go through a permitting process to do all this stuff, right?
[TM] Yeah and that was some of the first things we did, too, right? Well, let’s go talk to the County.
[NR] Right. Can we do this? Is this legal?
[TM] What’s the country’s look on interpreting the code, right? What do we need to do with the county to ensure that –
[NR] Do they consider the demolition when you move it or no?
[TM] They don’t. The category is unique because, essentially, we weren’t really wanting to renovate. We wanted just to move and then talking through what we need to do with the County and looking to do some ADA improvements. And when you ask about what we’re doing inside, really, it’s ADA. We’re looking at the first floors and making ADA improvements.
[NR]Okay. So there’s no elevators.
[TM] There’s no elevators.
[NR] You got to move those dorm materials up and down the stairs.
[NR] It builds character, I guess.
[TM] Yeah and we’re not doing much work on the third and second floor but we’re primarily doing the first floors. And that’s something we just try to do on our college campus. Wherever we can make those improvements, we do. When you have old buildings, there’s challenges with that but we do what we can with what we have and we continue to pursue those things. And so yeah, we think a great thing about this project is we’ve included these improvements on the first floors of each of the buildings.
[NR] When’s the final move take place?
[TM] Tuttle. Tuttle is our third building. This one hasn’t moved yet and we have some challenges there. [We’re] dealing with the existing foundation and ensuring that we’re careful with what we do there to move that building. So I don’t have a date for the third building.
[NR] Are people going to live in that– students going to live in that hall in place?
[NR] No? So that one’s kind of closed off for now.
[TM] We will move that building at a later date. I just don’t have that date and so our target right now for our project is “let’s get Alcock, let’s get Gallagher, let’s get them done. Let’s make sure we can move our students.”
[NR] One battle at a time.
[TM] Yeah. And we would love to have had all three. Obviously, that’s the project, all at the same time, ready to go for our students, our first year students when they move in on August 19th but now we’ve reset. Alcock, Gallagher have them ready and then once we can confirm what we need to do with Tuttle, we’ll move that building and we’ll put that building in place and we’ll complete all the work that needs to be done for that building and then we have our three buildings.
[NR] So any chance now you’re just going to make a career out of this? You’ll just go around and pick up residence halls? You just fell in love with it?
[TM] I don’t know about making a career of it. You know, there’s a lot to it. There’s a lot of challenges. I try to summarize everything but you can imagine we had months and months of work.
[NR] And you got to worry about weather and –
[TM] I don’t worry about weather. I mean this is a pretty large scale project to do over a summer.
[NR] And you have pretty decent weather here in the summer but you can have a downpour like we’d have.
[TM] No, we definitely can but the weather’s been pretty good this summer for us, for our project. But yeah, not making a career out of moving buildings.
[NR] You won’t be The Dorm Mover.
[TM] I will not be The Dorm Mover. I will certainly in any where I go, will try to look and see and challenge and figure out what we can do and maybe do things differently and sometimes that’s well-received and sometimes it’s not.
[NR] How has it been received by students and the faculty for that matter? Are they excited about it? Do they think this is kind of crazy?
[TM] Well, you know, it’s all who you ask. Obviously, you have current students that have a different take on that and you have students who have graduated who live there that have a different take on that. Faculty and staff, they all have different opinions and different looks. I think it’s the full spectrum. I think if you take a look at social media as in some folks are like, “This is awesome!” And then you just go down the comment list and you just… Some people think it’s great. Some people just don’t understand it, maybe don’t get it or just don’t like it. They’re just opinions. I think for the college presenting this idea to the president he’s all about innovation. He’s about bringing ideas too, and you’ve got to have a champion in order for things like this to happen. We brought the idea to Jose Bone who is the president there and it was well received. He was excited about it and said, “Let’s do this.”
[TM] I think it’s a really bright moment for a university, in general, because from the preservation side of things universities can and oftentimes cannot be the best stewards of cultural resources. I think that there is a lot of push to grow and they have to do things and they have limited space and they’re not always the best stewards of historical resources. So to see a university make the decision to pick it up and move it and save it I think that’s pretty exciting from the preservation side, so I think Goucher should be congratulated for that. Maybe a potential award winner in the future for the good work you’re doing there.
[TM] Well, thank you, and we’re excited to be able to do it. We really are.
[NR] So last question before we part ways here, which we ask everyone who comes onto PreserveCast if you have a favorite historic here in Maryland. Or perhaps beyond, I don’t where you’re originally from but – did you grow up here in Maryland?
[TM] No, I’m originally from Iowa.
[TM] But I will say I don’t think I have a building. You know, I really like the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. I think, you know, that place has a lot of cool things, a lot of things that they’ve brought to that location that are really neat. The Hooper Strait Lighthouse is really cool. When I was in the private sector I got a chance to work on the Steamboat Building there so I think for me that’s a really neat place that has preserved a lot of things, a lot of history in the bay, of course. I think that’s really cool so I’m really into that.
[NR] We’ll go with it. Okay, all right. Well, Terrence, it’s been a pleasure, thank you for joining us today and thanks for all the good work that you’re doing at Goucher and good luck on the next big move.
[TM] Well, thank you very much. I was glad I could come in here today and thank you.
You don’t need to open a history book to find us and available online from iTunes and their Google Play Store as well as our website: PresMD.org. This is PreserveCast.
This podcast was developed under a grant from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, a unit of the National Park Service. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Preservation Maryland and the Maryland Milestones Heritage Area and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the National Park Service or the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training.
This week’s episode was produced and engineered by Ben and Stephen Israel. Our executive producer is Aaron Marcavitch. Our theme music is performed by the band Pretty Gritty. You can learn more about them at their website: PrettyGrittyMusic.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter @PG_PrettyGritty.
To learn about Preservation Maryland or this week’s guests, visit: PreservationMaryland.org. While there, you can check out our blog and learn about what’s current in historic preservation. We’re also on Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, and Twitter @PreservationMD. And of course, a very special thank you to our listeners. Keep preserving!
Goucher College offers a master of arts program in historic preservation and was the nation’s first program to offer preservation training in a limited-residency program. This type of program allows flexibility in completing the coursework and has a diverse range of students from career preservationists, professionals in related field who seek to specialize in preservation, and also advocates who are looking for modern strategies to work within their own communities.