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Historic Columbia Hills Building_Roof WIndow web 02.jpg


SC Department
of Administration


Columbia, SC

South Carolina Department
of Administration
Historic Columbia Mills Building - Roof & Window Replacement


Commercial / Government

Historic Renovation




Through a competitive procurement, GMK Associates was selected to provide architectural, engineering, and construction administration services for the replacement/repair of roof systems, windows, and other building envelope features of the historic Columbia Mills Building located in Columbia, SC. The project includes the following three main objectives: 1) replace the built-up roof membrane of the main Columbia Mills Building with an aggregate surface to eliminate existing leaks; 2) replace the historic windows of the Columbia Mills Building to remedy the existing water intrusion into the building; and 3) repair/replace as needed the windows, frames, wet seal, and other components of the roof/window structure over the Atrium to address leaks and mitigate deficiencies at the vertical curtain wall. GMK is teamed with specialty engineering firm WM Building Envelope Consultants, LLC, for the completion of the full scope.

Originally constructed between 1893 and 1894, the original 4-story brick Columbia Mills Building consisted of approximately 220,000 square feet of working space. An addition completed in 1901 added approximately 60,000 more square feet to the building. The walls of the building three feet thick and constructed of common bond brick. The building’s numerous large windows have four-course segmental brick arches and granite sills, and there is a shallow gable roof that extends beyond the walls. The Columbia Mills Building is a unique and significant structure within the Vista area of Columbia, and is recognized as one of South Carolina’s largest historical artifacts. The Columbia Mills Building formerly housed one of the largest textile concerns in the entire state, and is believed to be the first textile plant in the nation to be operated by electricity. The Columbia Mills building continued as an operational mill until its closure in 1981. At that time, the building was donated to the State of South Carolina. Subsequently, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 24, 1982, and currently houses the South Carolina State Museum, the South Carolina Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum, and various state government offices.

GMK is working directly with the SCDOA key stakeholder team to determine all of the improvement and renovation needs required for the building envelope upgrades. The firm is also coordinating with SHPO/NPS to help guide the list of required preservation needs, particularly in relation to the historic window replacements. All facility improvement needs are being identified and defined in the programming/scoping phase. At the conclusion
of this phase, GMK will develop conceptual designs and prepare an estimate of construction costs for the scope of work. The deliverables for this phase are conceptual plans, elevations/renderings, narratives, and cost estimates of the agreed-upon
scope of improvements.

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