Thaw Hall improvements complete

Thaw Hall improvements complete

While many of the improvements are not immediately noticeable, the work completed on Maryville College’s 94-year-old Thaw Hall last summer was critical to ensuring the building’s continued use for years to come.

“The project included enhancements that will help the building last another 100 years,” said Barry Brooke, executive vice president of Knoxville-based company Lawler Wood, LLC, the College’s owner’s representative and project manager for the Thaw Hall project. McCarty Holsaple McCarty was the architect, and Joseph Construction was the general contractor.

Much of the work involved moisture intrusion control, Brooke said.

“Foundation waterproofing was not a common process in the 1920s, and the construction methods of the 1920s are not up to the standards of today,” Brooke said, adding that the building’s unsealed concrete led to moisture intrusion through the foundation walls, creating high humidity levels in the building. “Moisture is the worst thing for buildings.”

Waterproofing work at the foundation required crews to dig a large trench around the periphery of the building to apply sealant to the concrete foundation. In addition to waterproofing the foundation, gutters, downspouts and soffits were replaced, and both of the building’s handicap ramps were rebuilt to provide access to the Academic Support Center and the building’s elevator.

Inside Thaw Hall, a sag in the main floor was corrected, new carpet was added to the lower level and crews created an entrance to the Academic Support Center from the stacks area in the basement, giving people access to the bathrooms on that side of the Academic Support Center (the bathrooms were upgraded to be handicap accessible).  New controls and equipment for the heating and cooling system were also added.

Brooke noted that the project was in line with the College’s commitment to sustainability.

“The most sustainable thing you can do is to preserve what you have and keep it functional,” he said. “The improvements will also provide energy efficiency – by keeping moisture out, it helps keep the air drier and makes it easier to maintain temperatures.”

Constructed in 1922, Thaw Hall houses the College’s Lamar Memorial Library, Academic Support Center, Social Sciences Division and classrooms.

*This story originally appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of FOCUS magazine.


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2017 semester is 1,181.