UC Santa Cruz Porter College Residence B Retrofit & Additions
How do you add a vertical addition to an existing residence hall with minimal structural upgrades to the building in under 24 months?

Forell | Elsesser served as the Executive Prime Design Professional and Structural Engineer of Record for this dormitory renovation. The project scope included seismic evaluation, seismic upgrade design, major maintenance upgrade, and a 1-story steel-framed vertical addition to this existing 4-story cast-in-place concrete residence hall building built in the 1970s. The end result was increased capacity of the building from 83,000 s.f. and 314 beds to 102,700 s.f. and 448 beds. As Prime, Forell | Elsesser managed over 12 sub-consultant disciplines including Architecture, MEP, and others. This project achieved LEED Silver Certification.

Customized Solution

  • The seismic upgrade consists of additional concrete shear walls, strengthened foundations, and steel collectors.  The shear walls were arranged so that there was no loss of beds or interruption of circulation.
  • This project had an extremely aggressive schedule of 24 months, governed by the academic calendar, for the design and construction of the seismic retrofit and improvements. Toward the end of the Construction Documents phase, the University decided on a one-story vertical addition to this 4-story building.  Our team did a remarkable job by accommodating such a major design change in an already tight schedule- making the impossible happen.
  • During construction, Forell | Elsesser led pre-construction meetings, attended weekly construction OAC meetings, processed submittals and requests for information, coordinated and gathered documentation, reviewed and monitored project schedules with the Contractor, Owner, and provided final punch list, walkthroughs, and record documents.
  • The vertical addition was possible with minimal foundation work due to the creative and strategic demolition and replacement of the existing roof with little net increase in building weight.


  • Architect: Anshen + Allen/Stantec, Contractor: DPR
  • Owner: University of California, Santa Cruz
  • Cast-in-place concrete construction with steel-framed 1-story vertical addition
  • Increase bed count from 314 to 448
UC Santa Cruz Porter College Residence B Retrofit & Additions


UC Santa Cruz Porter College Residence B Retrofit & Additions

Geoff Bomba

Director of Engineering Operations