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Little Theater of Norfolk – The Challenge

The Little Theater of Norfolk was built in the 1920s and is the oldest continually operating community theater in the nation. The auditorium area of the structure is 45’ x 60’ and the perimeter CMU walls are constructed on a deep pile foundation. However, the interior floor slab that’s the auditorium floor was built on unsuitable fill soils. Over the years, the interior floor slab settled ranging from 1-13 inches; resulting in leaning seats, steep, uneven floors and conditions that required ushers to assist patrons to their seats.

Even with the unsafe conditions, The theater was granted a special waiver to remain in operation because the money raised from the performances was going to be used to repair the floor slab. With the assistance from special grants, the Little Theater of Norfolk secured the funds to proceed with the necessary repairs.

Little Theater of Norfolk – The Solution

The general scope of work included: Partial demolition of the concrete slab, installation of helical piers to support a new structurally reinforced concrete slab, construction of a new wheelchair seating area, and incidental carpentry repairs. JES provided a design for the new construction helical piles that would support the new concrete slab. Based on review of the soil borings, Model 287 (galvanized), double helix lead sections (8/10) would be installed to an approximate depth of 45’ and spaced approximately 8’ apart. The new construction caps would be used to support a new 5” concrete slab (3000 psi), reinforced with #4 rebar and 12” on-center, each way.

During construction, a 10” void was encountered beneath the lobby area floor slab and it was also surmised that the foundation wall at the stage had settled approximately 1”. To resolve these conditions, JES installed eighteen (18) slab piers in the lobby area and three (3) push piers at the main stage. Overall, JES installed fifty-eight (58) new construction helical piers to an average depth of 45 feet; 55 CY of concrete; eighteen (18) slab piers; and three (3) push piers for this project.

Little Theater of Norfolk – The Results

The board of the Little Theater of Norfolk was ecstatic with their new pile supported auditorium floor. The JES helical piles offer solid and long lasting support for the new slab floor, and the JES push piers provided additional structural stability with a lifetime guarantee. The project was completed without interrupting the season.

Little Theater of Norfolk

Click the book to view The PDF – The Little Theater of Norfolk – Foundation Settlement Repair

The Team

JES Project Engineers: Jesse Waltz, PE, Scott Davis, PE
Installing Contractor: JES, Virginia Beach, VA
Products Installed: 58 JES New Construction Helical Piers, 18 JES Slab Piers, 3 JES Push Piers

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