Science Phases
Second in a series: Sequencing of sciences construction allows life to go on

The Campus Concept committee has invited all interested members of the campus community to a forum on Monday, April 19, on the sciences project on the east side of campus.

Co-chairs Tom Simmonds, associate vice president for facilities, and Susan Camp, chair of Faculty Assembly, will go over the ambitious five-part plan at 4:30 p.m. April 19 in Room 305 of Park Hall.

Artistic rendering of science atrium.An estimated three years of construction will start in earnest after commencement. The project will give rise to an innovative new four-story home to wrap around part of the old one—nearly a quarter-million square feet in all.

Just to prepare the east campus site, workers will move miles of pipes and wires, drive thick metal sheets into the ground to protect Snygg Hall’s foundation, gut Piez Hall, bulldoze the new building’s footprint and—details to come in the next issue of Campus Update—raise a fence around the site, build a new walkway, reroute vehicle traffic, shift parking lots and more.

Simmonds and John Moore, director of facilities design and construction, talked about the sequencing of the sciences project:

1. Program relocations. This includes sciences faculty moving out of Piez to Snygg and Hewitt Union—and ensures science teaching and programming continues, Simmons said. Another part of this phase will be the college’s new VoIP phone system.

2. Utilities relocation and site work. The project will unearth water, steam, electrical, phone, sanitary sewer, storm sewer and natural gas lines, Moore said. They must be moved before construction can begin on the new building.

A Hannibal firm, W.D. Malone Trucking and Excavation, is the apparent low bidder for a contract worth about $2 million for the utilities and site work. Malone has proposed two other Central New York companies, Burns Bros. Contractors Inc. of Syracuse (HVAC) and O’Connell Electric Co. Inc. of East Syracuse, as major subcontractors.

The sciences construction will employ an estimated 300 people, Simmonds said. More construction will follow as the School of Education phase ties Wilber and Park halls into the project.  “This is a very positive thing for this region,” Simmonds said.

Moore said the utilities and site work will start in late May, finish by late August and cause planned power disruptions—two or three for as long as a day each in sets of buildings to be announced—during the summer.

“It certainly will be done in a way we can minimize impact to campus activities,” Moore said.

3. New construction: Planners will put the 165,000 square feet in new construction out for bid in June, Moore said. The contract will be in the range of $50 million.

Project architects Cannon Design incorporated Campus Concept and sciences planning committee ideas in a design that ties all the sciences together and with education.

“We’re really trying to get the scientists of the future and the educators of the future to collaborate, to team and work together,” said Moore.

4. Renovation of Piez: This phase largely will run concurrent with the new construction, cutting up to two years from anticipated completion of most of the sciences project in fall 2013, planners said.

Moore said Casey Raymond, chair of the sciences planning committee, teamed with the sciences faculty and staff to work wonders of cooperation in enabling steps 3 and 4 to move ahead together. “He (Raymond) has been a huge help through this process,” said Moore.

The new sciences structure—and Moore talks of the current Piez as one with the new construction—features a four-story atrium that will serve as the collaborative hub for informal gatherings, breakout space, a cafe and a new planetarium. (See related story.)

5. Salvage and demolition of Snygg: This must wait until sciences faculty and staff can occupy the new and renovated portions of the sciences complex. Planners will bid that job, the rehabilitation of Piez and the site work and landscaping for the resulting new complex as one $20 million to $25 million piece, Simmonds said.

He acknowledged it’s difficult for some faculty and alumni to part with a building, even in the name of progress. “I think it’s important to remember that we’re not only moving the people, but we’re moving the spirit and history of Snygg, too,” he said.

6. Rice Creek Field Station reconstruction: This work at the field station off Thompson Road south of campus is in a planning stage.

PHOTO CAPTION: Sky view—An “aerial” rendering of the new sciences complex by project architect Cannon Design shows a renovated Piez in the foreground and the integral four-story new construction. Planners have tried to incorporate sustainable design, including energy delivery. One feature of that, a solar array for production of photovoltaic power, is visible on the roof.

(Posted: Apr 12, 2010)