Sea Star Base Galveston

Creating a Sustainable and Storm-Safe Dormitory Facility

The Opportunity

Sea Star Base Galveston (SSBG) is a high-adventure marine and maritime facility offering aquatic education programs for young people. The goal is to instill lifetime leadership, teamwork skills, and independence in body, mind, and spirit. The base connects youth with marine environments through nautical high adventure programs while promoting the exploration of STEM topics in an aquatic environment.

Due to its seaside location, the designers needed a structure that could stand up to hurricane force storms for both the safety of the occupants and to minimize storm damage. As a non-profit organization, they were also interested in lower operating and construction costs.

Key Design Features

The Bautex Wall System was chosen by architect Randall-Porterfield for Bautex’s energy efficiency, recycled content, acoustical performance, and hurricane and fire safety ratings. The Bautex System was used to construct two of the buildings on the SSBG campus, including the 5-story, 60,000 square foot dormitory and event facilities building that serves as a safe and comfortable home to hundreds of guests annually.

Additionally, the Bautex Wall System significantly accelerated construction and reduced the overall weight on the structure. The Bautex System was used instead of conventional concrete masonry units (CMU). Insulation is incorporated into the Bautex Wall System, eliminating the added cost and time to insulate the walls.

Bautex provided the exterior walls and the demising walls between the two-room suites on most of the floors. Bautex AMB 20 Air and Moisture Barrier and Exterior Wall Finish were utilized on the exterior walls of the main building. The designers used the system creatively as well, designing attractive beveled window openings that were easily cut into the Bautex Block after the walls were poured with concrete.


Durability and Resiliency
The solid monolithic concrete construction at the core of the Bautex Wall System provides a building enclosure that is not adversely impacted by mold, mildew, rot, or decay that is common in the harsh coastal environment of Galveston Island.

Occupant Comfort
Indoor thermal comfort and sound reduction provided by the Bautex walls give visitors an enjoyable place to rest and relax from the day's activities and the hot and humid coastal environment.

Occupant Safety
Bautex wall assemblies provide fully tested fire and windstorm protection for guests, which was very important to the SSGB team.

Lower Long-term Operating Costs
The Bautex Wall System combines R-14 continuous insulation, thermal mass, and an airtight envelope to create an extremely energy efficient wall system that provides optimal energy efficiency for the hot Texas environment.

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Sea Star Base Galveston facilities had significant requirements, including withstanding future Gulf Coast storms and incorporating state-of-the-art energy efficiency technology. The developers are pursuing LEED Platinum certification, the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest rating for building sustainability. The Bautex Wall System provided the benefits of recycled and regionally manufactured materials, high energy efficiency, and superior indoor environmental quality, helping to drive the SSBG project toward its LEED certification goal.

Project Info

Project Name: Sea Star Base Galveston
: Galveston, Texas
Building Type
: Dormitory and Education Facility
: 5
Building SF
: 60,000
: 2014

Project Team

Owner: Sea Star Base Galveston
Architects: Randall-Porterfield Architects Inc. & Shipley Architects
General Contractor: Jacob White Construction Co.
Bautex Installers: T.E Reilly Inc. & ARM Construction of Houston
Structural Engineer
: Paul Engineering, Inc.