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Awards | TCA Tilt-Up Achievement

Mendota Federal Correctional Institution

2007 TCA Tilt-Up Achievement Award - Municipal Division

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Like most federal prisons, the Mendota Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) is in a remote area, resulting in site challenges. Comprising 288 acres, this project required Dick Pacific Construction (DPC) to meet security requirements, such as 12-inch thick insulated walls with reinforcing at 8 inches on center each way, as well as ensure the building was durable and could tolerate temperature extremes.

During the winter months when the building was constructed, rain and fog were common, creating a muddy jobsite. It was also difficult for DPC to find locally available skilled laborers, as the population is mainly agricultural-based.

Located in the San Joaquin Valley Basin, the soil is in a moderately high seismic zone 3 and is susceptible to liquefaction; therefore, earthquake drains were placed at a depth of 50 feet to provide a path for rapid dissipation of earthquake-generated excess pore pressure. The extensive drain system made Tilt-Up wall panels the best method for the project. Similarly, insulated Tilt-Up walls have a high thermal mass and were chosen because they exceeded the energy requirements set by the ASHRAE.

In addition, the owner requested that the exterior design match the heritage of the central California valley. To achieve this look, DPC used precast concrete cells with a broken fin texture to simulate the “corrugated roofing texture” found in the valley’s utility buildings; the Tilt-Up panels were designed to both complement and contrast this texture with a random board finish along with smooth accent panels, reveals and arched headers found in the valley’s farm structures.

Throughout the design, concrete panels were finished with a combination of smooth and textured areas to create variation. The extensive use of reveals, fenestration, and recessed windows develop interest and character. With careful attention to details, DPC pre-planned every step of the way. This attentiveness not only led to the success of the building, but also to the company winning the California Golden State Safety Award.

Project Specifics

Project Floor Area
303,400 sq ft
(28,186 sq m)
Tallest Panel
48 ft 0 in
(14.63 m)
Largest Panel
719 sq ft
(66.8 sq m)
Heaviest Panel
90,000 lbs
(40,823 kg)

Participating TCA Members

Meadow BurkeSustaining Member icon
Lifting hardware, Braces
ThermomassSustaining Member icon
Insulation system

About the TCA

Founded in 1986, the Tilt-Up Concrete Association (TCA) strives to improve the quality and acceptance of site-cast Tilt-Up construction, a method in which concrete wall panels are cast on-site and tilted into place. Tilt-Up construction is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, combining the advantages of reasonable cost with low maintenance, durability, speed of construction and minimal capital investment. At least 10,000 buildings, enclosing more than 650 million square feet, are constructed each year using this construction method.

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