Bridges, Structures Restored After Flood Damage in SC Botanical GardenAug 05 2014 · 0 comments · Bridges, NISHKIAN MONKS ·0
Following a record rainfall coupled with a freak storm in July 2013 there was vast damage to the South Carolina Botanical Gardens on the campus of Clemson University. In the middle of the clean-up Clemson architecture professor Daniel Harding got on the phone with Nishkian Monks whom the professor had an established collaborative working relationship. Together with Clemson staff they worked out a plan to begin the restoration. Nishkian Monks helped a large force of local volunteers and students rebuild the bridges in the Botanical Gardens after last summer’s torrential flood. Rain fell on the area virtually every day after mid-June 2013. In the 10 days prior to the 13th of July, Clemson received more than 20 inches of rain. On the night of July 12th, into the morning of the 13th, the gardens saw an additional eight inches of rain. That was enough to open the floodgates, specifically on the garden’s Duck Pond, which unleashed more than 100 million gallons of water on the Hunt Cabin and the nature trails just beyond it. The flood wiped away almost all pedestrian bridges, eroded topsoil from some sections and dumped silt in others, causing at least $200,000 in damage. Managing Partner, Ty Monks, P.E. of Nishkian Monks PLLC in Bozeman, MT was part of the team led by Professors Daniel Harding and Paul Russell which spent the last twelve months rebuilding bridges, trails, and signage. While there is still more work to be done, in a year the South Carolina Botanical Garden has come a long way. Officials say the Botanical Garden is now fully operational and back to normal.
It would have taken $225,000 to do all the repair work to the garden, but it didn’t because volunteers and Clemson students donated their time and talent to make the garden even better than it once was. Patrick McMillan, director of the Garden, turned to Clemson’s School of Architecture, awarding a contract to its architecture studio course to build new bridges. Clemson’s students, professors and volunteers took it from there, operating first like an outside architectural firm, then as construction managers and workers as the project took shape. Nishkian Monks provided structural engineering design services of a single bridge design which needed to be employed at several stream crossings with varying span requirements. Since the engineering was essential to the success of the bridge design, and would provide added educational value to the architectural students, Ty Monks actively included the students in the structural engineering decision making. His involvement in the project included a special trip to Clemson to meet the students and review the site. “I am truly impressed with the level of commitment and professionalism I witnessed from the Clemson students and staff. The process was incredibly focused on real world practices which added to the overall success of the project,” said Ty upon his return from Clemson.
Architecture and landscape architecture students worked together to build eight new bridges that are interwoven, modular, customized and prefabricated trusses of steel. They also created new signage and on-site maps to help visitors find their way through the Garden and trails. In building the eight new bridges, students constructed 43 modular spans of bridge totaling 172 feet long with 38 precast concrete foundation systems, 1,032 linear feet of angle sections of steel, 840 square feet of fiberglass grating, 344 custom and truss members, 96 custom steel joists, 2,752 linear feet of half-inch steel rod for the railing, 344 linear feet of two-by-four treated wood for the foot rails and 344 linear feet of two-by-six treated wood for the handrail. The new signage for the trails comprises 160 square feet of sheet steel, 4,000 pounds of concrete foundations and an interactive sculptural art piece that memorializes and replicates the fury of the storm.
The South Carolina Botanical Garden is home to 8,000 plant species, many of which are rare and endangered. The garden has restored its Natural Heritage Garden with its more than 1,000 varieties of native plants in their natural habitats. It also has put in place protections to guard against another huge flood. The garden is open to the public at no charge, and it is visited about 500,000 times each year. To plan your next visit, or learn more about the South Carolina Botanical Garden, click here.
Images courtesy of Clemson University architecture students 2013-2014