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This new relocatable modular building was installed as part of a five-year plan to retrofit the University’s science and engineering facilities. Intended as a temporary building, it was required to convey a sense of permanence while blending in with the modern architectural theme of the existing campus and adjacent structures. To achieve this, Ramtech applied an exterior combination of horizontal dark gray metal and tan stucco. The parapet wall design aided in concealing a significant amount of roof-top HVAC equipment required for the laboratory buildings. The exterior entrance assemblies utilized poured concrete with steel ships railings painted to match the gray siding. The exterior canopies were trimmed in the school’s primary burnt orange color. The Type V-b sprinkled layout features nine teaching and research labs along with required mechanical space, a media kitchen and ancillary areas. One room in the Bio-Engineering wing is designated as a Biosafety Level 2 containment lab.
As with any laboratory facility, demands on the mechanical system are significant. Providing enough make-up air to offset typically 3,000 cfm per laboratory of exhaust, called for a pad mounted 50 ton Aaon self-contained D-X unit for the Bio-Engineering wing and a similar 30 ton unit for the Mechanical Engineering wing. These units provided tempered M/U air and were supplemented by Lennox roof top D-X “trim” units for comfort cooling and heating. All of the exhaust from the Bio-Engineering lab is processed through HEPPA filtration before being reintroduced to the atmosphere. The building utilizes steel clear-span trusses throughout allowing unlimited furniture configurations in the future. Building systems integration between the various structures on the campus posed a considerable challenge. The data, communication, fire alarm, fire sprinkler, and HVAC controls all required extensive rework with limited down-time during system the initiation.
The building site is sandwiched between two existing parking areas that mandated a long and narrow building footprint. This posed a considerable problem as the entire site also had a uniform slope of 4%. Placing a single structure with a continuous finished floor elevation would have required building up the site with thousand of yards of fill material, complicating an already problematic accessibility issue to the new building. An economical solution was to break the building into two separate structures and form a courtyard between them as an area to transition between the floor elevations. This courtyard also provided an ideal space for the required mechanical and electrical service equipment. The University enthusiastically accepted the proposal giving each department a sense of autonomy and ownership. This solution was not only a significant cost savings for the school, it also made for a better overall installation while further compressing the construction time frame.