Higher Education Case Study: Tread Lightly

By Anne Cosgrove
Published in the June 2008 issue of Today’s Facility Manager

F-Wing Student Library This two story, daylit atrium provides a place for students to gather informally(picture below). Located adjacent to the campus library and student services, the F-wing expansion has created a hub of activity at the college. (Photos: ©Jeffrey Totaro/Esto)



In 2005, planners at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey owere nearing cmpletion of a facilities master plan for the 1,600 acre campus. Drawing on data and goals found in the 1990 plan, this updated version identified the variety of facility types required to support the ongoing growth of the College.

Still, three kinds of spaces stood out in terms of critical need-general academic, science, and student center. As Stockton planned its next move, it turned to the site of a one story science lab. This facility, also known as the F-Wing, was constructed in 1973 as part of the College’s original campus plan. It was also one of the last spaces available on the original campus footprint.

The main academic campus buildings, constructed as a series of wings (A-N), were connected by an enclosed circulation spine. Part of the reason for this relatively dense design was location; the campus sits within the Pinelands National Reserve, a one million plus acre area that contains numerous farms, wetlands, and forests. In 1978, the U.S. Congress established it as the very first national reserve Stockton College was established by the New Jersey legislature in 1969; a $202.5 million capital construction bond had been issued the previous year to build the college in the southern part of the state. Since its inception, the college had a history of taking the natural environment into account when executing projects related to site use and facilities. This was done voluntarily as well as because of regulatory issues.

Student Atrium, Stockton College

As Harry Collins, director of facilities planning and construction at Stockton, explains, “If we would have taken additional land for this project, there would have been a greater cost involved, and greater time for permitting with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the Pinelands. We would also have had to deal with additional stormwater management issues. By building onto the F-Wing, we did not create any more impervious surface than was already on the site. So, it was a cost-effective way to get square footage quickly.” [For more on stormwater management, read “Sustainable By Design” in this month’s issue.] When beginning the addition, Stockton engaged Cubellis of Philadelphia, PA. Under its previous name, Geddes Brecher Qualls Cunningham (GBQC), the firm had created the original 1970s campus plan.

John Kohlhas, AIA, principal with Cubellis explains that the first thought for Stockton was to expand facilities for the sciences by building onto the existing lab space. He says, “There was the thought that new science facilities could be accomplished at this site, so we studied that possibility with the Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NAMS) department. However, it was determined that because of the program’s expected growth, it would eventually need its own facility.” After ruling out the existing facility addition, the project team looked to the master plan to determine a direction for the expansion. The decision was made to build two stories over the current labs, along with an atrium to provide a student center type space that was lacking. In all, the 28,000 square foot addition would contain 11 classrooms, a lecture hall, two multi-level computer labs, study lounges, and faculty offices.

The expansion was aimed at creating more general academic space, so many of the rooms were designed with the flexibility to accommodate different types of users. “This was planned to serve the general campus,” says Collins. “For instance, seminar rooms contain furniture that can be rearranged into different configurations. Now the spaces are used all the time, up to 14 hours a day.”

Executing The Project

After the programming was in place, scheduling issues arose, thus forcing the team to work around the lab spaces. “The labs needed to remain available to students and faculty throughout the expansion,” Collins explains. “We planned the timeline carefully to minimize disruption. To build not only on top of the labs, but adjacent to them as well (without interfering with the operations of the College) was one of the biggest challenges.”

Classroom at Stockton College The classrooms in the F-Wing expansion were designed to be “smart.” They include an a/v system that enables instructors to control it from their podiums and link their computers into the equipment. (Photo: ©Jeffrey Totaro/Esto)

The project team handled this by working around the lab during the spring of 2005. “As soon as classes were out,” says Collins, “we had a window of opportunity when there were no students at all. We stripped the existing roof and prepared it for construction. There was quite a bit of construction noise, and we would not have been able to drill or swing steel with people below.”

Meanwhile, classes that would have taken place during the summer in the labs were moved. “We needed to have people back in the labs by September, and the goal was to have a weathertight structure by that time,” says Collins. “In preparation for the fall semester and the construction that would go along with it, we put up vision panels so we wouldn’t distract occupants,” he continues. “We also came up with a sound deadening design, so the noise we produced wouldn’t telegraph into the classrooms.”

Staying Green

In keeping with Stockton’s tradition of environmentally friendly development, the F-Wing expansion was designed to achieve LEED for New Construction certification. The U.S. Green Building Council awarded this shortly after the building was completed in June 2006.

The strategies employed to work toward the LEED certification included: solar shading to minimize heat gain, occupancy sensors for lighting, water conservation fixtures, and 90% certified wood to conform to guidelines for sustainable forest management. Additionally, daylighting was used throughout, including in the atrium and in many of the classroom and faculty office spaces.

The project team took the green scheme another step further by specifying rooftop photovoltaic panels (27 kilowatts), which would generate about 10% of the building’s energy use. (Collins recently opted to increase the campus wide photovoltaic capacity to three quarters of a megawatt.) Another building system installed within the F-Wing expansion was an Aquifer Thermal Energy System (ATES), a heating and cooling strategy which uses water taken from an aquifer on the site. The Pinelands lie above the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer. This site is said to contain 17.7 trillion gallons of water.

Through a series of boreholes and pipes, the ATES, which became operational several months ago, will pull chilled water out of the ground in the winter and run it through a cooling tower. During the expansion, the F-Wing was also linked into the existing chilled water loop on campus to ensure coverage as backup to the ATES. Collins explains, “The cold air chills that water from the ambient temperature of about 55¡F to a much lower temperature and puts the water back in the ground.

“In the summer,” continues Collins, “the process will be reversed, and the system will take the cold water that has been stored in the ground and run it through the chilled water pipe system throughout the facility. A fan will blow across the water, and the air will be cooled as a result. It will provide very inexpensive air conditioning.” In addition to the energy savings Stockton expects to reap from the ATES, Collins explains that the system does not use any chemicals or any other treatments. Collins explains that this system is operating on a large scale. Millions of gallons of water will be drawn out of the aquifer; then it will travel through the system’s infrastructure, serve the building, and be deposited back into the aquifer about a quarter of a mile away.

A Healthy Collaboration

With the ATES online, Collins will now be tracking its performance, as he has done with the photovoltaic panel installation at the building. These are among the building developments he has been able to take ownership in, even as his relationship with it has evolved.

Collins, who worked on the F-Wing expansion as project manager with the original construction management company, Gilbane Inc., was hired by Stockton for his current position at the College approximately six months following the project’s completion. “I had come back to the College a few months after the project finished to review some of its facilities processes,” he recalls. “And then several months later, they offered me the position.”

Both Collins and Kohlhas mention the two story atrium when asked about their favorite aspects of the project. Kohlhas says, “One of the wonderful things we discovered is that the atrium would unite a large core of academic space with the entrance to the library and the entrance to student services and admissions. It is a great location for the addition, because the surrounding functions are ones that typically reside at the academic heart of a campus.”

“It is a beautiful space,” adds Collins. “All of the finishes fit the area. It’s very bright and airy. The mosaic of the waterfall on the exterior of the building is very nice as well.”

The tile mosaic, known as “The Falls,” was created by artist Mac Adams and measures eight feet wide and 32′ high. Kohlhas explains that the type of artwork-and eventually the artist himself-was selected through a collaboration with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. With vibrant green hues and the implied motion of the waterfall, the art installation helps to foster the sense of place that those attending and working at Stockton have enjoyed since the 1970s. And because the planners of the F-Wing expansion took into account the surroundings, the Richard Stockton College New Jersey has gained much needed academic space without disturbing the nature that abounds all around.

This article was based on an interview with Collins and Kohlhas. To learn more about the facility planning at the college, visit www.stockton.edu.

To share your new construction or renovation story, sendan e-mail to Anne Cosgrove at avazquez@groupc.com.


Project Information:

Organization: The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

Type of Project: Overbuild addition to existing facility.

Function of Facility: Higher Education.

Location: Pomona, NJ.

Square Footage: 28,750.

Budget: $8.1 million.

Project Timetable: March 2004 to June 2006 (design through construction).

Cost Per Square Foot: $285.

Facility Owner: The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.

FacilityManager: Donald Moore, executive director, facilities planning andconstruction; Harry Collins, director, facilities planning andconstruction.

Architect/Interior Designer: Cubellis.

General Contractor/Construction Manager: Fletcher Harlee Corporation; Gilbane.

Electrical/Mechanical Engineer: Vinokur-Pace Engineering Services,Inc.

Structural Engineer: Keast & Hood.

Landscape Architect: Lager Raabe Skafte Landscape Architects.

Product Information:

Furniture: KI; Herman Miller; Allsteel; Knoll; Krug; Nova; Dauphin.

Seating: Brayton; Gunlocke; HON; Knoll; Krug.

Office/Administrative Storage: Herman Miller.

Flooring: Wausau (terrazo tiles).

Carpet: Bentley.

Ceilings: Armstrong.

Textiles: Maharam; Knoll; Momentum; Guilford of Maine; Designtex; Brentano; Anzea.

Surfacing: WilsonArt Laminates; Trespa (wall panels).

Sound Masking: Panel Solutions.

Fire Alarms: SimplexGrinnell.

Safety Equipment: Larsen; SA Comunale; Allied.

Lighting Control Products: Leviton.

Lighting Sensors: Novitas.

Lighting Fixtures: Columbia; Finelite; Hew Williams; Elliptipar; Infinity.

HVAC Equipment: Trane.

Roofing System: Carlisle (white roof).

Exit Signs: Emergi-Lite ELX Series.

Curtain Walls/Skylights: Kawneer (curtain wall); Super Sky (skylights).


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