Holabird & Root, an award-winning architectural design firm, presented its vision for a renewed and improved Collier Hall of Science last Friday, January 16. If all goes according to the proposed plan, Collier Hall will become a state of the art science facility, about 10,000 square feet (net) larger than the current building.

Changing academic needs, new building codes, and aging mechanical systems have made renovations to the 40-year-old building a priority for the College. Through an interactive process that included construction manager Alvin H. Butz, Inc. and Moravian College faculty and administration, Holabird & Root developed a program report and concept drawings for renovations consistent with the science departments' reputation for excellence and vision for the future, said Dean Gordon Weil, vice president for academic affairs.

Prior to creating the concept drawings, Holabird & Root worked with Butz Construction and Moravian College to assess the current building, understand space use, and evaluate needs.

The report and drawings represent the firm's initial concept for Collier Hall—not a final plan, emphasized Ernest Wagner, H&R associate principal and project leader.

"When we assessed the building, we realized we have an ideal site … and its bones are very sound," said H&R project leader Ernest Wagner. "We knew we could make the current building work for its intended purpose, and mechanical updates would be easier than usual."

Short-Term Improvements

Wagner outlined two phases for the renovations: short-term improvements that will occur within the building’s existing footprint and long-term renovations that will occur in the future. Short-term improvements will include architectural, electrical, mechanical, and "quality of life" recommendations such as:

  • Repairing leaking windows
  • Repairing the roof
  • Installing code-compliant fire alarm and sprinkler systems
  • Reconfiguring air handling units
  • Reallocating space (e.g., moving offices, labs, and animal holding areas; increasing space for the expanding biology department;  and improving student lounge areas)

 Also during this phase, the nursing department (which presently has some space in Collier Hall) will be consolidated in a new location outside of Collier.

Long-Term Renovations

During the renovation's long-term phase, Collier Hall will expand in several directions. According to the concept drawings, offices will be added along the Main St. side of the building; research space will be added on the south side of the 300 level; and a new detached greenhouse will be constructed. The new Collier will be oriented toward the Hurd plaza and will include plenty of large windows, filling the research area with natural light.

New biology labs In Collier Hall of Science could resemble this cell biology lab designed by Holabird & Root for Beloit College.

Incorporating sustainable systems and practices, the conceptualized Collier also features a central corridor through the lab area for better accessibility, additional computer lab space, classrooms designed for student interaction, tiered lecture halls, and a grand stair to connect the three levels. "Our goal is to keep the building compact," said Wagner. "By building around the current structure, we will be re-skinning the old building with the new one."

What’s next? During the upcoming design development stage, the concept will be refined and revised, and funds will be raised simultaneously to support the short- and long-term phases. "How fast we proceed will depend on our success in raising funds," said Dean Weil. To view the complete report and additional concept drawings, click here.