The new Highland Campus parking garage at the Austin Community College was completed in April 2020. Deemed a superior value over a competitive product, PENETRON ADMIX was specified as the concrete waterproofing solution for the seven-floor construction project.
The Austin Community College is a public community college system serving the Austin, Texas, metropolitan area and surrounding communities. The college maintains numerous campuses for about 100,000 students enrolled in academic and continuing education programs. The Highland Campus, previously the Highland Mall, opened in Fall 2014.
The Highland Campus parking garage is a new seven-story construction with 2,385 parking spaces for vehicles and an additional 200 bicycle parking spaces. Located in the southeast corner of the campus, the $51 million parking garage project was designed by Barnes Gromatzky Kosarek Architects and is part of an ongoing expansion of the Highland campus.
“The design of the parking garage is derived from the distinctive architectural style that informs the Highland Campus,” explains Christopher Chen, Director of The Penetron Group. “The symmetrical vertical double angle beams of galvanized steel are as much of the support structure as the underlying cast-in-place concrete floors.”
High Water Table a Serious Issue
Because the Colorado River flows right through the heart of Austin – and is dammed in two different locations to form Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake – any construction project in this area of Texas faces considerable waterproofing challenges.
The project engineers at Spaw Glass, the project contractor, were confronted with high water table issues at the construction site that needed to be resolved before any construction could begin. Built into a hillside, the bottom two floors of the seven-floor Highland Campus parking garage are actually below-grade; the remaining five floors are above-grade. Initially, a competitive waterproofing admixture was specified as a concrete waterproofing solution.
“Working with Centex Materials, the ready-mix supplier, Penetron was able to offer superior value with PENETRON ADMIX when compared to the performance of the competitive product,” adds Christopher Chen. “Familiar with the local water table issues, Centex Materials relies on the effectiveness of the Penetron System whenever they run across challenges with below-grade and water retaining structures.”
How to Increase the Service Life of Concrete
Over 2,000 cubic yards of concrete were treated with PENETRON ADMIX and used for the cast-in-place concrete elements. Once added to the concrete mix, the active ingredients in PENETRON ADMIX react with moisture (and elements contained in the concrete) to form insoluble crystals. These permanently fill in hairline cracks, pores and voids in the concrete to become an integral part of the matrix. With significantly increased concrete durability and reduced permeability – and self-healing ability – the service life of the Highland Campus parking garage concrete elements has been substantially extended. Recent test results show that PENETRON ADMIX can add up to 60+ years to concrete in critical environments before the onset of corrosion. Once completed, the contractor submitted the newly completed project for LEED Silver certification.
Construction at the ACC Highland Campus continues with a chiller plant, set for completion next month. Penetron will report on this project in a future release.