Exterior Envelope Repairs at Tacoma Community College Building 11

Building 11 serves as the Tacoma Community College (TCC) campus’s student center, cafeteria, dining areas, campus bookstore, web cafe, and student government offices. The building is one of the largest on campus and is positioned at the center of the campus, facing the campus commons lawn.

Stemper AC, in collaboration with our partner BET&R, completed the design for a building envelope restoration of this building’s Phase-III addition. The restoration included limited roofing repairs, and replacement/ redesign of the building’s exterior cladding, canopies, and fenestration systems.

Before the implementation of this project, the existing stucco cladding, canopies, and windows were all failing, leading to moisture intrusion issues and severe damage to the building’s supporting wood structure and shear walls. As many of this existing building’s issues originated out of poorly designed and executed cladding and fenestration systems, our team redesigned many of its unnecessarily complex elements and key components to provide a new watertight envelope system that also creates redundancy within the building’s design. This minimizes the need for building maintenance.

In collaborating with TCC representatives, the building received a ‘facelift’, through the use of metal cladding systems to complement and link Building 11 to the aesthetics of newer adjacent buildings. The design also included the installation of a highly resilient porcelain cladding system for the highest impact areas along the building’s south-facing main entrance.

Some interesting notes and successes of this project:

  • Removed the building’s failing stucco system/ residential grade weather-resistive barrier which allowed for extensive structural repairs and replacement of deteriorating plywood sheathing and exterior wall framing.
    • Although the actual amount of structural damage was unknown, the Team was able to work with the project’s structural engineer, PSM Consulting Engineers, and quickly respond to the need for structural repairs in the field, reducing construction delays created by the unavoidable additional repair scope. 
  • The cladding redesign was not only an effort to replace failing components/systems but to ensure that all new components/systems were detailed and designed for long-term performance.
    • Details that repaired the continuity of the air/vapor control layer at all transitions to remove not only the chance for moisture intrusion but to decrease heat loss through air leakage.
    • Detailed exterior water-shedding layers so that sheet metal flashings direct moisture away from the building’s elements even if exterior sealants should fail in the future.
    • Simplified or removed the complex transitions of the original design to eliminate difficult-to-maintain vulnerable details that previously held organic debris or relied heavily on sealants. 
  • Opportunity to reflect aesthetic and character of adjacent campus facilities
    • Red textured metal wall panels emphasize the building’s primary south entrance while other metal wall panel colors were utilized to de-emphasize other secondary points of entry.
    • Replicate stone/masonry veneer through the use of a highly resilient and maintainable porcelain tile cladding system.
    • Galvanized steel sunshade along the west elevation which will also provide a mounting point for future signage.


• State of Washington DES
• Tacoma Community College


• Building Envelope Technology & Research (BET&R) – Building Envelope Consultant
• PSM Consulting Engineers – Structural Engineering Consultant

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