Science lab renovations close to being completed

By Sean McDonnell

Oct. 29, 2018

After over a year of renovations, Cleveland State University is close to finishing its first phase of construction on the Science Building and Science and Research Building.

The renovations included gutting and reconstructing eight labs, including many prep and storage rooms that supported them. As part of the renovations, Cleveland State also redid the second floor lounge of the Science Building, which directly connects to the InnerLink. The second floor of the Science building also had new floors installed.

According to Dwayne Wilson, the project manager for the renovations, the last lab being redone, SR 257, should be completed in mid-November. Renovations for all other labs are completed.

The design process for the renovations started in January 2014 when the design firm AECOM began the architecture and engineering for the project. Wilson said the design process was a collaborative effort and the design firm and university worked with faculty to make decisions for the new labs.

“By meeting with the individual faculty we actually learned a lot because CSU has some unique things about it,” Wilson said. “They had some unique ways of approaching how they wanted to teach.”

Wilson said meeting with the faculty meant they could design labs that would work for Cleveland State faculty, instead of a one-size-fits-all kind of design.

Construction for the labs started in August 2017 in phases, so that faculty could move classes around to different rooms, keeping the disturbance of the class schedule to a minimum.

Wilson said for most of the labs, everything within the four interior walls was gutted. In some instances, he said they were able to tear down walls and redo the layout of some of the rooms.

“Everything in the labs is 100 percent new — from the wall finish, ceilings, new (mechanical components), new lighting, new HVAC — everything,” Wilson said.

Along with upgrading the labs’ functionality, Cleveland State also kept looks in mind when it decided to make the new labs have more of an open concept design. The walls of the labs are fire rated, and Wilson said that 40 years ago it wasn’t possible to introduce glass to those kinds of walls. Now, he said, new technology allowed them to do so.

“The second floor being located on the Inner-Link, that’s a prime location for student tours,” Wilson said.
Wilson said letting people see into the labs would help sell Cleveland State to new students.
He said they also added some over-sized graphics to the walls, as well as some monitors for signage, done in conjunction with the marketing department.

The project cost $6.5 million, with money from state appropriations. According to Cleveland State Architect Bruce Ferguson, the university has received more funding from the state to do a second phase of renovations.

The board of trustees recently approved the architecture and engineering team for phase two, and Wilson said the first meeting with faculty to talk about design happened a few weeks ago.

Ferguson said that once the design phase starts, the projects will still have to go through state reviews, as well as a bidding process and other procedures. He said generally it takes about a year before construction starts.

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