Denison University - Burton D. Morgan Center
Granville, OH

Denison University in Granville, Ohio is ranked in the top tier of “America’s Best Colleges” (U.S. News & World Report,), and has one of the oldest college alumni organizations in the country (established in 1846). The university has holdings of approximately 1,200 acres, including a 250 acre main campus, extensive recreational and athletic fields, and a 500 acre Biological Reserve. Dedicated to remaining one of the nation’s top colleges of liberal arts and sciences, Denison University has recently completed a three-year $60,000,000 expansion and construction program. The project includes a new Campus Common that is framed on the east side by The Morgan Center, a new 65,000 sq. ft. building dedicated to student, faculty and alumni related activities. Beneath the new two-acre campus commons green space is a 360-car parking garage and loading dock.

The Morgan Center contains a variety of technology intensive classroom, seminar, multi-function and video-conferencing areas. Syska Hennessy Group provided all mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection services as well as a campus-wide central utility master plan and associated design.

Understanding the complex architecture and the high-visibility of this building and the fact that it resides on an Olmstead Brothers designed campus, increased our awareness to thoroughly integrate the MEP systems into the building while providing for a fully functional, quiet and maintainable end product. To achieve this, the system designs put the DDC controlled, VAV air handling units indoors and connected them to the outdoors via louvered, gable-end walls in the attic mechanical room. In an effort to minimize louvers, motorized lobby doors act as intake for the atrium exhaust system; basement level areaways and hillside tunnels are utilized for air intake and exhaust paths. Heated floor space above the drive-though underpass provides occupant comfort. A special relay control system was incorporated to eliminate the need for both stand-alone emergency lights and bodine-type ballasts. The result was a design solution that minimizes the visual impact of the MEP systems serving the building while providing for a comfortable and healthy environment.

This building also acts as a local hub to the campus’ communications network. Main conduits and cable trays connect the local hub to adjoining structures. Indirect lighting was utilized throughout classroom and business oriented spaces.


65,000 sf