Wiley|Wilson Wins ACEC Virginia Grand Engineering Excellence Award

Wiley|Wilson is pleased to announce that the U.S. Army War College was named a Grand Engineering Excellence Award winner by the ACEC Virginia chapter. Through the Wiley|Wilson | Burns & McDonnell Joint Venture, the company provided architectural and engineering design for a new General Instruction Building at its Carlisle Barracks, PA, location. Root Hall is a four-story, 200,000 SF facility that features classroom spaces, a large 600-seat auditorium, a cafeteria with 156 seating capacity, an innovation lab, podcast and broadcast studios, a “Knowledge Commons” (a specialized academic library) with high density shelving, and A/V-equipped outdoor classroom spaces.

“We are honored to be named a Grand Award winner and recognized for the significant architectural and engineering achievements that this project represents,” said Neil E. McSweeney (PE), Wiley|Wilson President and Chief Executive Officer. “The U.S. Army War College is the premier institution for educating senior military leaders of all service branches, and the new Root Hall will ensure the U.S. Army can continue in its strategic mission of preparing leaders in military strategy while attracting and retaining high-quality faculty.”

With this win, the project is eligible for the Pinnacle Award, which is given to the best overall project.

“We knew [the new Root Hall] was outstanding long ago,” added U.S. Army Colonel Robert D. Halvorson, Director of Strategic Plans for US Army War College.

The Engineering Excellence Awards are conducted annually by the Virginia chapter of the American Council of Engineering Companies. The competition recognizes those projects that feature a unique challenge that engineers were able to resolve or that showcase an innovative approach to engineering design that future projects can model.

“Our team worked closely with members from the USACE Baltimore District, the Carlisle Barracks Garrison, the Directorate of Public Works, and leadership at the War College throughout the design process,” explained Andrew G.M. Blysak (AIA, LEED AP), Wiley|Wilson Senior Vice President and Director of Quality. “Heavy and frequent coordination was required to ensure the final design matched the legacy of the school and provided the necessary spaces to meet the sophisticated needs of the War College’s advanced curriculum.”

One of the identified challenges was the location of the building itself. Root Hall is sited along the LeTort Spring, a 9-mi long tributary of Conodoguinet Creek. The limestone under the building is highly variable with pinnacles of rock, limestone ledges, and even cavities. The structural design team, in conjunction with the architects on the project, had to settle on a column grid early in the design process and pass those locations to the Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, whose Field Exploration Unit performed an extensive subsurface investigation to inform the foundation design. Thanks to early and ongoing collaboration and coordination, our team was able to overcome these design challenges successfully.

This is not the first Wiley|Wilson project to be recognized by ACEC/VA. Last year, the company was named a Merit Award winner for its work on the Master Clock Facility in Washington, DC. The Howard County Circuit Courthouse in Columbia, MD, won a Grand Award in 2021. The Combined Heat and Power Plant at the U.S. Naval Support Facility Indian Head, MD, was named a Grand Award winner in 2016, and the Richmond Justice Center also earned an Honor Award that year. In 2014, the firm won the Pinnacle Award for its design of the Naval Research Laboratory, Laboratory for Autonomous Systems Research (NRL-LASR). That same year, Wiley|Wilson received an Honor Award for improvements made to the Wintergreen Water System. In 2013, our design of the Virginia Tech Materials Management Facility earned an Honor Award, and in 2012, we received an Honor Award for the Center for Advanced Engineering and Research (CAER) facility in Bedford, VA.

About US Army War College
Since 1901, the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, PA, has educated the world’s top military minds and leaders, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, George Patton, Omar Bradley, and John J. Pershing. In 2018, the College shifted its teaching approach, moving away from the traditional “sage on a stage” teaching method, with professors giving a lecture and students taking notes, to a more collaborative environment with open, back-and-forth discussions and lessons. The new Root Hall is a cutting-edge facility with spaces that match the College’s collaboration-heavy instruction model. It features a 600-seat auditorium, 28 seminar-style classrooms, two large group lecture rooms, broadcast and podcast studios, and an Innovation Center/Lab.

About ACEC of VA
The American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) represents more than 5,000 independent professional engineering companies throughout the United States engaged in the development of America’s transportation, environmental, industrial, and community infrastructure. Founded in 1909 and headquartered in Washington, DC, ACEC is a national federation of 51 state and regional organizations, including Virginia’s chapter, ACEC of VA.