Making Moves with Goucher College Dorm Relocation

Goucher College’s decision to upgrade its first-year residential dorms was a bittersweet one. The three historic dorm buildings were full of fond memories and sentimental value for alumni and the community, but the growing college found itself in need of expanded, more modern facilities.

The solution? Rather than demolishing the cherished buildings, Bohler’s team helped the College come up with a plan to move the buildings to another area. This freed up space for the updated residential village, and the idea of recycling the buildings suited the College’s vision of a green campus.

The question then became, when and how? The College was anxious to complete the project during the summertime, when the first-year dorms are empty. This created a time crunch for everyone involved. Additionally, there were questions about how to permit a task like this. If the project was going to get completed on time, it was going to take a little creativity and a lot of hard work.

Navigating Uncharted Territory

This was such an unusual project that Baltimore County wasn’t sure how to handle permitting. Creating a new permit is no small undertaking and would have taken time that wasn’t available. But Bohler combed through the codes and found a way to make it work using an existing permit, saving time and trouble. The County accepted Bohler’s proposal and agreed to allow the work to move forward using a “foundations permit.”

Securing Approval in a Single Review

The timeline for this project was tight, and it would be delayed an entire year if the necessary approvals weren’t received on time. Bohler leveraged its strong relationship with the County to expedite the process by meeting with reviewers and getting them on board with the design early on.

The final construction-level documents were reviewed and approved in one review – something typically unheard of. The thoroughness of Bohler’s planning and pre-coordination efforts helped to avoid the multiple review cycles commonly required before a project can move forward.

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Making Moves with Goucher College Dorm Relocation

Coordinating Building Relocations

With permits and approvals in place, it was time to make it happen. This meant figuring out how to phase moving the buildings, and how to move them to the new site. A robust team was tasked with finding the best route to move the buildings through campus, with Bohler advising the team as necessary. Bohler was also responsible for designing the new site, including the timing of moving the buildings.

The buildings were moved one at a time over three weeks. A single basement and foundation were built and then a building was moved and placed on top before the next basement and foundation were started. This meant Bohler had to coordinate closely with the contractor and moving company on the phasing of the grading, earthwork, and utility construction to time it with the move of each building, ensuring everything ran smoothly.

Award-Winning Results

Moving the historic dorms was a once-in-a-lifetime project that required thinking outside the box to meet deadlines. The timeline was so tight that the buildings were moved with the furniture still inside.

However, Bohler was able to partner with the County to get the project approved in record time. As a result, the Goucher community was able to preserve its beloved buildings and have everything ready to go when the students returned in the fall. In fact, Goucher’s innovative initiative to preserve and reuse the student housing for future generations was recognized by Maryland’s The Daily Record, and the College was once again named “Innovator of the Year” by the publication.

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