Western Specialty Contractors Restores Façade of Historic Armory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Western Specialty Contractors – Springfield, IL Branch has restored the brick and stone façade of the historic Armory at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – home to the Fighting Illini track and field team.

The Armory was originally designed by William Carbys Zimmerman as a military drill hall, athletic facility and assembly hall. Constructed in 1912-14, the building was once the world’s largest free-span, no-centersupport-system structure. In 1927, a multi-story addition designed by Charles A. Platt was built around the building, adding classroom and office space. Its façade matches the Georgian Revival style in nearby university buildings such as the Main Library and Huff Hall. Today, the Armory is an anchor point for the
university’s south campus and is used for track and field meets and other events.

Western contracted with project general contractor Grunloh Construction of Effingham, IL to tuckpoint the Armory’s east elevation and portions of its north and south elevations. The scope of work also included demolishing and rebuilding an existing parapet wall using block masonry, salvaged stone and fabricated stone that closely matched existing stone. The severity of deterioration on the upper areas of some masonry walls required a change in scope to rebuild additional parapet locations completely. Due to the irregular dimensions of the parapet wall, further demolition and rebuilding work had to be completed to maintain the structural integrity of the masonry walls.

Western’s craftsmen also replaced damaged brick on the façade discovered during tuckpointing with salvaged brick from the parapet demolition. They installed customblend brick in other locations where salvaged brick could not be used.

Western completed approximately six tuckpointing mockup locations to match the existing façade as closely as possible and maintain the historic nature of the building. Additional sand was added per the petrographic testing results to match the existing mortar, and the mortar was brushed with special care while still damp to expose the additional aggregate.

The restoration team also included White & Borgognoni Architects of Carbondale, IL and Rubinos & Mesia Engineers of Chicago, IL. Western’s team completed the project within a year and on budget.

About Western Specialty Contractors

Family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing, and specialty roofing. Western offers a nationwide network of expertise that building owners, engineers, architects, and property managers can count on to develop cost-effective, corrective measures that can add years of useful life to a variety of structures, including industrial, commercial, healthcare, historic, educational and government buildings, parking structures, and sports stadiums. Western is headquartered in St. Louis, MO, with 30 branch offices nationwide and employs more than 1,200 salaried and hourly professionals who offer the best, time-tested techniques and innovative technology. For more information about Western Specialty Contractors, visit https://WesternSpecialtyContractors.com.