Summer-Time Renovations Completed at Collier Hall of Science
Fast-Paced Project Puts ‘Science on Display’ in Time for Fall Semester
In time for the start of the 2013-2014 academic year, Moravian College has completed phase two of its renovation of the Collier Hall of Science, bringing the four-decade-old science facility into the modern era. The ambitious summer renovation project, which started the day after graduation in May, focused on several key objectives: meeting the academic needs of the College’s faculty and students, improving the quality of life for all of the building’s occupants, and adhering to standards of the Life Safety Code.
While students, faculty, staff and visitors will quickly notice the improvements inside the teaching and research laboratories – most notably, the new third-floor anatomy and physiology lab – as well as the new student study spaces and faculty offices, the real benefits of phase two’s renovations aren’t as apparent, says Kelly Krieble, Ph.D., associate professor of physics and department chair of physics and earth science, who serves as project shepherd. “About 80 percent of what we have done here, people aren’t going to see,” he explains.
The College worked from the outside in, starting with the replacement of the roof and then installing all new windows – many of which were part of the building’s original construction. A heat recovery system was also installed on the roof, which should provide energy savings in the future. The renovation included upgrades to the electrical system and ductwork, as well as a life safety room that was added in the basement. This new addition will house the sprinkler and smoke detection systems, as well as building’s other life safety features.
Although not required by code, sprinklers were included in the phase two work, increasing the safety of all occupants, as well as playing a key role in designing to the original concept of “science on display,” says Kim Sherr, Moravian’s associate director of project management and plant operations and project manager for the project.
“The overriding idea of ‘science on display’ directly relates to visitors and students becoming visually involved with laboratory activities, hence the need for windows between hallways, laboratories and other spaces,” Sherr says. “The installation of sprinklers will allow this design element to be used, not only in recent upgrades to anatomy and physiology laboratory on the third floor, but in all other future upgrades.”
Collier’s new GIS laboratory, a computational modeling lab that will allow for high-end computing and sophisticated analysis of scientific data, will have similar visibility to passersby, bringing education into the open. In phase three, the so-called “super lab,” which will consist of a physical chemistry lab and a biochemical/quantitative analytical chemistry lab on Collier’s main floor, will continue this trend of allowing visual access from the surrounding hallways.
Krieble and Sherr champion lab 303 as the crowning achievement of phase two, noting its new high-volume exhaust system, two walk-in refrigerator units, screen projection unit and electric window treatments. Not to be forgotten are the windows now overlooking Main Street, the lone laboratory with a view to the outside.
“The space has been completely transformed,” Krieble says.
“From the flooring and lighting to the fixtures and the doors, 303 will be the design model for future lab renovations,” adds Sherr.
It really took inclusion from everybody to get this completed. There were a lot of different eyes looking at it from different perspectives, but we’re all focused on the same goal.”
– Kim Sherr
Other research and teaching laboratories also received much-needed updates, including new fume hoods installed according to the needs of faculty and students. The College relocated all emergency shut off valves for the natural gas toward the doorways of the laboratories for easier access. Additionally, there are now electrical panels on each floor, and a new emergency generator to back-up necessary equipment.
Krieble expects the buildings’ updated faculty offices will be popular with his colleagues, with improvements to temperature control, and the addition of heat-motion sensors and new windows. “We really talked about improving the quality of life with all occupants,” Sheer adds. “We wanted to have a healthy working environment for everyone.”
Following the renovations, the College can better manage Collier’s infrastructure and energy resources moving forward, Sherr adds. “Many of the upgrades that were made will be linked back to the energy management system in the FMPC office, and we now have an eye on systems that we didn’t have before,” she says.
To comply with regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the College added ADA restrooms on the first and second floors. This is in addition to renovations made in earlier in the year, which included updates to the existing elevator, an additional entry on the west side of the building, and a wheel-chair lift between Mellon and Dana lecture halls. New water fountains have also been added, which allow for filling bottles.
Following the renovation process, Sherr and Krieble completed a systematic walkthrough of each impacted area with the construction management company, Alvin H. Butz, Inc., the architect of record, EYP.
Looking forward to phase three, in September, Krieble and Sherr will reconvene the construction committee and work with construction firm and architect to finalize the project’s scope and designed drawings to confirm the GMP, guaranteed maximum price for the next phase of work. Unlike phase two, faculty will be able to maintain occupancy during the next stage.
“It is really important to recognize the tremendous amount of work that was completed in just one year, of which, renovations were completed in just 11 weeks,” Sherr says. “While Kelly and I were the points of contact on this project, it really took inclusion from everybody to get this completed. There were a lot of different eyes looking at it from different perspectives, but we’re all focused on the same goal.”
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