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August 2009 Issue

Students gather outside the Medical Sciences Building (MSB).
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More Work to Begin on Medical Sciences Building

Published August 2009

Phase I of the Medical Sciences Building (MSB) renovation project was the attention-grabbing part: the visually stunning CARE/ Crawley Building, with its futuristic design and soaring atrium.

Phases II-V? Not so attention-grabbing, but in many ways just as important.

 “This is a major infrastructure project,” says Greg Braswell, director of planning for the Academic Health Center. “We’ll be replacing air-handling units, doing some major vertical duct work for fume exhaust and putting in a new sprinkler system to bring the building up to National Fire Protection Association Life Safety Code.”

In addition, Braswell says, the project involves:
•     Consolidating electrical and telecommunications closets throughout the building.
•     Installing new ceilings and light fixtures. (“It’s easier and cheaper, once you take them out, to put new ones in,” Braswell says.)
•     Replacing all fume hoods in MSB laboratories.

For the remaining phases of the project, think of the MSB as divided into quadrants with each phase’s work being done from top to bottom of the quadrant because that’s the way the ventilation is set up. The northeast quadrant, adjacent to Levine Park and the Cardiovascular Center, will be renovated in phase II. The northwest, southeast and southwest quadrants will follow in phases III-V. (Braswell says phases IV-V might be consolidated into a single phase to save costs and time.)

Work on phase II is scheduled to start at the beginning of 2010, Braswell says, with completion of the entire project expected in 2015.

Construction projects are nothing new to the MSB, which was built in 1974. As university engineer Kit Pearson points out, “With a building of that size, there’s almost always some sort of construction work going on inside of it.”

Still, university officials are well aware that a project of this scope will require extra care to avoid disruptions in the rest of the building.

An exterior hoist will be used to deliver materials to construction areas, Pearson says, avoiding service elevators and keeping the materials outside the building as much as possible. Also, barrier walls will be constructed in doors and vestibules and contractors will run “negative exhaust” in construction areas—in other words, if someone opens a door the air will blow into, not out of, the construction area.

People, offices and labs have been moving out of the phase II space for the past several months, with a goal of having it emptied by the end of 2009. Labs are moving to the CARE/Crawley Building, while offices are spread among the remainder of the MSB, the Stetson Building, the Health Professions Building and Wherry Hall.

As the actual start of construction approaches, university officials expect to hold a series of meetings to keep people informed and explain the construction process.

In the meantime, those with questions or concerns can call (513) 558-8999. 

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