Ramsey Center renovations are officially underway

Improvements at Western Carolina’s Ramsey Center include extensive work on the structure’s envelope, including the removal of existing canopies over the entrance/exit doors to allow new lighting and signage.

Originally published in The Sylva Herald on June 11, 2020. 

Work has begun on a facelift of the Ramsey Center at Western Carolina University.

“Addressing the water leak issues in the existing curtainwall is the primary goal of the Ramsey Activity Center Curtainwall Replacement project,” according to the website of construction company Watson Tate Savory. “WTS is implementing a design strategy to remove compromised components in the original curtainwall envelope and to repurpose existing structure that supports a new watertight and thermally improved skin. In addition to improving the Ramsey Center’s envelope performance, the design solution provides WCU with an opportunity to develop a façade that better integrates with the direction of the campus architecture.”

The strategy consists of a demolition and retrofit of the current envelope, retrofit of the curtain wall, and an insulated metal panel façade with cold-formed metal framing backup.

The project will also remove the current canopies over the entrance/exit doors, which will allow new lighting, interchangeable signage and logos on the building’s façade. No interior changes will be conducted other than the replacement of exit signs and replacing ceiling finishes.

The exterior renovation project was originally endorsed Dec. 1, 2018, by the WCU Board of Trustees. Construction was slated to begin in May 2018 with a tentative completion in September 2019. However, that was not the case.

“The start date for the project was pushed back because of several factors, including a delay in the completion of the design, a re-design in order to meet the project’s budget and contract development,” WCU spokesman Bill Studenc said.

The official notice to proceed was issued on Dec. 19, 2019. The current contract completion is March 8, 2021, with an estimated cost of roughly $3 million.