SIUE New Wet Sciences Building at dusk. Image: Sam Fentress/Hasting+Chivetta Architects Inc.The Southern Illinois Univ. Edwardsville Science Dept. had outgrown and worn-out their mid-1960’s science building. Over the course of nearly 50 years, the university enrollment greatly increased and the schools of pharmacy, nursing and dentistry were added, straining the current building. The lab casework, fume hoods and equipment were well past their expected lifecycles.

Out of necessity, the faculty developed new teaching models to deal with the present teaching load demands on the department. Lab classes were held seven days a week, to keep up with the class load. The faculty was challenged by lack of adequate lab space, fume hoods, prep areas, storage and research space.

The Hastings+Chivetta-designed New Science Building for biology, chemistry and environmental sciences accommodates the present and future needs for the departments, and the remodeled existing science building accommodates the math and physics departments.

The new 150,000-sf building and the renovated 175,000-sf existing building also needed to be designed without overtaxing the existing campus chilled water system, because no state or university funding was available to increase the capacity of the current system.

Designers grouped the majority of the fume hoods used on the top two floors, reducing the ductwork running to the rooftop exhaust system. Biology occupies the lower level and first floor with teaching labs, vivarium, aquaria, support spaces and research labs. Environmental sciences is located on the south side of the second floor, with teaching and research labs. Chemistry occupies the remainder of the second floor and the third floor with teaching labs, a stock room and research labs.

Faculty research labs are designed on a two module, 600-sf footprint. Most research labs are four modules, accommodating two researchers with flexibility to expand or reduce bench space between the two researchers. Graduate assistant offices are adjacent to each research lab. The offices are stacked at the west side of each floor to produce a suite concept for each department, allowing for the office areas to be on a separate return air-handling system.

Hastings+Chivetta’s technology approach was to employ a VAV system consisting of two units for the labs: one unit for the office areas and one unit on emergency power for the vivarium and aquaria. Lab exhaust is handled by two banks of three exhaust fans atop glycol energy-recovery units. Cooling water is from the campus chilled water loop system. Lasers are cooled by a closed-loop chilled water system. All rooms and labs have occupancy sensors to adjust lighting, temperature and air changes between occupied and unoccupied conditions. All labs are monitored by an air sensing system, which alarms and purges an area if contaminates are detected.

The fume hoods have individual area sensors, sash position switches and airflow monitors. This enables each fume hood in the lab to run at 60 fpm, even when the lab is occupied, and only ramp up to 100 fpm when a scientist is at the sash.

The building envelope includes sun shades, roof overhangs, high-performance glazing in thermally improved aluminum curtainwall, reflective TPO roofing, a handicapped accessible green roof area and a 30-kW photovoltaic cell array.

The faculty’s use of green chemistry techniques allow for microscale experiments in the teaching environment, reducing the quantities of chemicals to the lowest amount necessary to execute the experiment in teaching labs. These experiments allow for the use of down-draft extraction systems with much lower velocities than conventional fume hoods in most chemistry teaching labs.

The end result of technology, partnered with green chemistry, provided the energy savings to produce a LEED Silver building, just one point short of Gold, and the New Science Building is now back on the campus chilled water system within the mandated requirements. The faculty is also back to teaching labs five days a week.

Robert Bohack is a Senior Associate and Project Architect at Hastings+Chivetta Architects Inc. with more than 40 years of experience in projects ranging from healthcare facilities, convention hotels, universities and labs. He specializes in collegiate science facilities, having worked on over a dozen since joining Hastings+Chivetta in 1997.

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