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.

Proj_Sea Scout_0250


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.