Renovation of Dormitory into Administrative Offices



University of the Virgin Islands

St. Thomas, USVI

Faced with overcrowding of administrative offices and lack of conference space, the University of the Virgin Islands did an inventory of available space on campus and identified  an unused former Army Air Corps building at the west end of their St. Thomas campus. The facility served UVI as campus housing and a cafeteria prior to its abandonment.  The building was in disrepair but mostly structurally sound. 

SSM, working with the University’s Capital Projects Management team and local contractors developed the design for the complete renovation of the 24,000 square foot three-story dormitory building into an administrative office and conference room facility. 

There were many challenges to the project, most notably the low floor-to-floor height. Close coordination was required from the design and construction team to route duct work, fire sprinkler piping, conduits and wiring for power, data, security, and fire alarm in the available spaces while providing adequate ceiling heights for a world class office and conference center. Notable facts include that the building was retrofitted to utilize a central chiller plant and; has a cistern for rainwater collection to be used for gray water and irrigation. The electric service is connected to the campus 15 kV distribution, with 100% generator back up for the building.  The building also houses a satellite data center for the campus with separate generator to back up the power distribution, and uninterruptible power supplies for the data racks and the dedicated cooling equipment for the data center.