SAC Parking Garage, Villanova University

Radnor, PA

As part of Villanova University’s Master Plan, there was a need to provide additional parking on campus.  The existing two level SAC Garage was selected for a vertical expansion of two additional levels.  The existing precast garage capacity of 270 spaces was increased to 493 spaces with the vertical expansion.  This resulted in a net gain of 223 spaces for the University.

Read More


The many challenges associated with this vertical expansion above the existing precast parking garage included the following:

  • Providing new lateral structural elements for the vertically expanded garage
  • Integrating a new ramp between the existing and new parking levels
  • Adding a new elevator and new pedestrian bridge for improved accessibility
  • Enhancing the architectural appearance of the expanded garage.

Design Solutions

The original garage was designed in the early 1990s and did not provide adequate lateral support provisions for a vertically expanded garage. The lateral design criteria had become more stringent under subsequent editions of the Building Code. New cast-in-place concrete shear walls were provided at the existing precast garage. New precast shear walls were installed atop this with the new precast superstructure. The shear walls bear on caps and micro piles. Micro piles were selected due to the low overhead clearance beneath the existing garage floor which limited the size of the drill rig.

A new ramp was required for accessing the two new levels built above the existing. Galvanized steel beams, cast in place concrete and special precast detailing were required to provide a smooth transition between the new and existing garage portions.

An elevator and a pedestrian bridge were added at opposite ends of the expanded parking garage. The elevator was provided for accessibility to all levels of the garage. The elevator shaft was carefully inserted into an opening that previously accommodated a stair. Careful design and detailing as well as some underpinning of an existing retaining wall at the elevator pit, allowed for the elevator to be inserted into the existing garage. The pedestrian bridge allowed for a better and more convenient connection to the heart of the Villanova campus.

The architectural design of the newly expanded parking garage was important to the University. The original, two level garage was masked by the sloping site. The perceived mass of the expanded garage was much greater and required appropriate architectural detailing to break down its scale and blend more contextually with the campus. Buttressed shaped column covers with integral stone veneer cast into the precast were provided to provide a three dimensional quality to the garage facades. Stone veneer was also added to the shear walls at the ends of the garage. The difference architecturally between the original and the vertically expanded garage is very pronounced and has been well received by the University’s community.