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May 5, 2017

Tenant Improvement/Renovation

Photo by Heywood Chan
The entry pavilion was built with 140 metal cassettes that fit precisely into a structural grid.


Seattle University Connolly Complex Title IX
Rafn Co.

Architect: Gensler

Engineer: Arup

Owner: Seattle University

ABC members: NorthStar CG; Propel Insurance



Rafn Co. completed the Seattle University Connolly Complex Title IX tenant improvement on a tight schedule while the busy facility was occupied.

The project enhances Seattle University’s game day experience for women’s basketball and volleyball programs to match those of the men’s (NCAA Title IX).

There were three main areas of work. The first was a new ground-up steel pavilion with a concrete and steel ramp that guides athletes, fans and guests to a new second floor entrance to the renovated sports facility.

The second phase included demolition and reconfiguration of corridors, concessions and locker rooms, and the addition of public restrooms.

The third phase involved demolition, replacement and reorientation of the existing North Court including new bleachers, painting and a state-of-the-art audio/visual system with a new video board.

The new entry pavilion is not only a new access but is also an architectural work of art. The exterior consists of a custom “box” containing 140 metal cassettes that fit precisely into a structural grid. Each cassette has a custom laser cut pattern that required exacting attention to detail and installation into the correct location. To manage time, reduce cost and ensure quality, Rafn powder-coated the entire steel frame and all the cassettes off-site before installation. This allowed for winter installation, thereby saving time and money.

The onyx-colored concrete was a structural design element that required six mock-ups and continuous testing to ensure that it met structural requirements and provided the specified color finish.

The main court reorientation plan had to be modified when the original plan to restripe the existing floor did not meet the Title IX goals. Instead, Rafn demolished the existing wood floor and installed a new floor system while creatively maintaining ADA access by replacing the existing rubber ramp system at the entrances.

The common areas, amenities, locker rooms and athletics offices required coordination with multiple decision makers. For example, Rafn originally installed the locker room shower heads at the standard height, but on a walk-through the athletics representative realized that they were too low for basketball players so the heights had to be changed.

The project was started on June 6, 2015, with the goal of being completed in time for the Dec. 19 women’s basketball team’s first game. To meet that date, Rafn split the project into two phases to allow the use of the basketball court before the pavilion portion was compete. To get the fire inspector’s sign-off on that plan required that Rafn and McKinstry, plus the plumbing, HVAC and fire sprinkler subcontractor, work over a weekend to install additional pipes. Also, the painting subcontractor, Fawcett, repainted everything to meet the schedule.

Rafn has done many projects at Seattle University over the years, but this was by far the largest. Throughout all three areas of construction Rafn kept the rest of the building functioning, even during intensive and invasive work.

Rafn had no medical or time-loss injuries in the 15,477 hours worked.


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