Birthing a Building

Written by Frank Monastra

By this time next year, the Woolpert family will have a new addition, and I find myself doing all the usual proud papa things. I’ve taken enough photos to fill several baby books. I brag about the potential for this unique new arrival. And if I smoked, I would be buying cigars.

When the new University of Cincinnati College of Business (COB) opens its doors to students in the fall of 2019, it will be the culmination of one of the most exciting projects I have been involved with. If feels like awaiting the birth of a new baby!

Working on a signature project at my alma mater has been a dream come true, and it has been a privilege to work on a team with a global influence. Woolpert is providing civil engineering, structural engineering and landscape architecture in partnership with BuroHappold Engineering of England, Henning Larsen Architects of Denmark and KZF Design of Cincinnati. Turner Construction Company is overseeing construction.

When completed, the 225,000-square-foot facility will be sure to draw attention. Comprised primarily of glass walls, the first story allows interior and exterior spaces to flow together. Pedestrians will be able to walk under the south end, where three stories are suspended from above. Dramatic sloping and geometric roofs enclose the building, which is scheduled for a grand opening on September 19, 2019.


The COB is also on track to achieve LEED® Gold certification, the second-highest designation by the U.S. Green Building Council. The building will be energy-efficient as well as beautiful!

I find myself looking back over this project with pride. During the recent topping-out ceremony, I signed the final beam placed in the structure. And I treasure a picture of my oldest daughter and me taken on-site last summer—both of us sported hard hats and held constructions drawings and an IPad. Priceless.


It’s been a long and sometimes challenging process. Woolpert interviewed for the project in 2015, began the concept design in 2016 and broke ground in 2017. Par for the course with fast-track projects, we face coordination challenges as we issue structural details while other disciplines are still in progress. To keep these issues at a minimum, my team meets with our construction partners at the project site every Friday to address questions and keep the job moving along.

I’m so proud of our team and the efforts of Engineering Technician Doug Ellis, Engineer Michael Solar, and Design Engineering Interns Karlie Clark and Madison Baechle. I can’t wait to photograph my Woolpert team in front of the finished COB.

When people ask, I’ll be proud to say, “That’s our baby!”


Frank Monastra, PE, LEED AP

Frank Monastra is a structural engineering manager who provides technical leadership on complex projects. He recognizes the importance of innovative thinking in creating cutting-edge, impactful designs and encourages a creative mindset and value engineering in his discipline’s daily processes.


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