Integrated Science Facility, State University of New York
Geneseo, NY

SUNY Geneseo is currently ranked as one of the best small, public liberal arts colleges in the northeast with a strong emphasis on education in the sciences. In order to both capitalize on and improve their standing, the College needed to upgrade their aging infrastructure. One of the two science buildings (Blake Hall) was constructed in 1965 and the other (Greene Hall) was constructed in 1970. Existing teaching spaces were inadequate and lacked proper ventilation; power supplies and laboratory plumbing systems did not meet current needs; and laboratories were outdated.

We were commissioned, as part of the A/E design team, to develop a new facility with state-of-the-art laboratories, integrated teaching spaces and a research greenhouse. Our initial challenge was to review available alternatives for the desired facility: reuse and renovation, new construction, or a combination of both new construction as well as renovation of some existing facilities.

We performed a thorough facility assessment of the two existing buildings collaborating and communicating in detail with the architect and the many stakeholders involved. The project team developed an optimized solution to first build a brand new Integrated Science Building (ISB), move occupants in to the new space, then renovate Greene Hall for future and additional science department needs. The phasing plan minimizes disruption to class scheduling and reduces the number of costly moves required.

Our MEP infrastructure design supports flexible laboratory environments, as well as energy conservation and sustainability. Significant engineering features include: 6 of 8 air handling units provide 100% outside air to insure safe and comfortable environment for research and education. Two separate heat recovery systems support energy conservation by capturing energy from heated air before exhausting air outside. Laboratory ventilation is provided with two position controls to allow for occupied and unoccupied operation. Summer boiler provides steam service for laboratory and classroom requirements during summer operation when campus steam is not available. Dedicated steam boiler generates clean steam for humidification to maintain comfortable indoor environment, achieving a better learning climate. Innovative smoke exhaust system is designed to maintain safe egress conditions in the main atrium and other exit paths. Greenhouse is provided with reliable climate control and irrigation, utilizing special shading, heating, cooling and humidification controls to deliver various climate zones within one building. SUNY Geneseo was counting on the A/E design team to deliver a strong facility that offers flexibility for integrated learning and achieves sustainable levels set by Executive Order 111. We not only helped the client achieve their original vision, but also joined them in embracing green design. The university is now one of the first institutions in New York State to achieve – and exceed – Executive Order 111 standards. SUNY Geneseo had high expectations for their new building, with tight budget and space constraints to meet. It was truly a team effort among the architects, engineers, the university and its science departments, and construction professionals to make this project successful.