Caedmon, Wendelin, and Artisan Studio Renovations, Minnesota

CWA is a renovation and connecting link addition of three existing campus buildings. Each building had a different number of stories from one to three, including basements. The new link was three story construction with two story curtain wall fa├žades.

Innovative and Creative Solutions for Complex Structural Demands.

Location: St. Joseph, MN
Client:  Bentz Thompson Rietow
Service:  Structural & Civil
Square Feet:  25,000 GSF
Construction Cost: $10,000,000
Construction Materials:  Concrete, Precast Plank, Masonry, Structural Steel, Glulam Beams


The design of the welcome center link presented many different engineering challenges. The most visually apparent of these challenges is the lateral support system. Our client and architect of the project desired the two-story columns for the structure to have the appearance of “trees.” To accomplish this, large circular steel tubes were used for the main “trunk” columns, with auxiliary steel tubes that “branched” off and spanned to the underside of the glulam wood roof structure. The tree trunk and branches in conjunction with the glulam system were used to provide the lateral frame for the building. This creative approach satisfied both the architectural intent and the structural demands in an innovative fashion.

Another challenge this project presented was connection to an existing building on the north side and the south side. Connection to two existing structures was a demanding task and required creative thinking and close collaboration with the contractor to ensure the structure was constructed properly. BKBM performed multiple site visits throughout construction to ensure the design intent was realized. A unique feature of the foundation is a permanent soil retention system that was employed on the north end of the building where the new structure undermined the existing foundation system by 6 feet.

During construction, BKBM worked diligently and efficiently with Donlar Construction to keep construction moving by saving time on submittal reviews, field questions, and the design of field repairs.

BKBM also provided civil engineering consulting services for this project. Civil design included grading and drainage for the 1.10-acre site as well as providing new utility services. Utilities included storm sewer, sanitary sewer, water, chilled water supply/return, and low-pressure steam/condensate. Permeable pavers where used for the sidewalks, parking lot, and courtyard. A small rain garden was also constructed in the southeast lawn area to help provide better drainage away from the existing Wendelin building.