Construction Update 03/01/2021

New Tower

Much of the infrastructure in the lower floors of the new tower is nearing completion, which allows for decorative finishes and artwork to be installed. For example, in the large lecture rooms, ceilings are being covered with panels housing lights and speakers for the sound system; soon ceiling tiles will completely cover the heating ducts and conduits above. The large, suspended sculpture, “Light Spectra”, which formerly graced the Mills-University atrium in the Daniels wing, will soon be fully re-installed in a two-story interaction space in the sub-basement and basement of the tower.

Left image shows the ceiling tiles being installed in 360-seat lecture room. Right image shows an architect's rendering of a light installation in the new tower.

The outside of the tower is also looking more and more like a finished structure. Terra cotta panels have now been installed over the whole of the west façade and workers will move to the north façade this week. Glass window-walls are being installed on the Mills-Street side of the tower, and many other details of the exterior finishes are also nearly complete.

Two exterior shots showing the installation of glass and terra cotta next to the Daniels wing.

It is encouraging to think that we will move into the new tower in less than four months. Lab directors, stockroom personnel, and the chemistry demonstration lab are in the process of packing equipment and chemicals so that they can be moved quickly and safely into the tower when the time comes. By mid-July, most of our teaching laboratories, offices, and support spaces will have moved!

Two images showing chemistry laboratory materials being packed up to move into the new tower.

North Mills Street Closure

To allow for the erection of a crane that will raise and lower materials from the rooftop of the Daniels wing, North Mills Street will be closed between West Johnson Street and University Avenue from this Thursday, February 25 through Thursday, April 1. All access to Conklin Place (the alley in the middle of the block on the east side of Mills Street) will need to occur from north Brooks Street on the east.

Wi-Fi Upgrade

The next phase of the building-wide WiFi upgrade began Feb 10.  Contractors are installing devices throughout the building complex. Work in Shain tower is nearly complete and work in Mathews and Daniels is underway. Installation of each device requires only a few minutes. There may be a momentary disruption of local WiFi service in the work area.  Work will proceed during the next several weeks.

Construction at the North End of Daniels Continues

The new tower will be connected to the existing Daniels wing on the fourth and fifth floors, as well as from the second floor down to the sub-basement. In January construction began to reconfigure the corridors at the north end of the Daniels building and accommodate doorways to the new building.

Floors B, 1, 2 of Daniels are being opened to the new tower. This work involves the construction of doorways to accommodate continuous corridors between Daniels and the new tower. Fire doors will be installed and will remain closed during the construction of the tower and for the duration of the renovation of floors B, 1, and 2 Daniels.

Floor 3 work involves the reconfiguration of rooms 3345 and 3351. This construction work is internal to these two rooms. It involves changes to ductwork to accommodate doorways to the new building on other floors. There will not be a connection to the new building on floor 3, but changes on floors 5 and 4 necessitate changes on floor 3.

Floor 4 work involves the reconfiguration of rooms 4343 and 4351 to connect the research floor of the tower with Daniels.

Floor 5 work involves the demolition of rooms 5341 and 5351. The fifth floor of the tower is level with the fifth floor of Daniels, and this work will open the doorway that connects them.

Floors 6, 7, and 8 construction is underway. It involves blocking the windows in rooms on the north wall of Daniels. All construction work will be internal to those rooms.

Construction activities will not affect access to labs, offices, or the stairwell.  Dust and debris will be contained behind construction barriers.  There will be occasional noise and vibration. The work is expected to be complete soon.

Brief closure of Daniels wing – Mon Mar 8, 2021

Daniels wing will be closed from 6-10 am on Mon Mar 8, 2021. The contractor needs to shut down the 480v electrical service in the Daniels building to remove temporary circuits that were used for the tower crane.

This shutdown does not affect the 110-V/ 208-V service in the building, which means it does not directly affect equipment in any lab or office. There will be no impact on the process chilled water loop. Shain tower will be unaffected.

This shutdown does affect all exhaust fans in Daniels, pumps that are integral to heating the entire Daniels building, and the main supply air fan for floors B-2 Daniels. Note that restarting all this equipment after a power outage is an elaborate process.

Since the exhaust system will be offline, occupants of the Daniels wing must ensure that there are no active experiments in fume hoods.  All chemical containers must be closed and capped.

Please note that it is not possible to schedule this construction activity during the period of the closure of the Daniels building, which begins the following week.  There is too much risk to the building if the fans and pumps do not restart at a time when there are other major impairments to the building infrastructure.

16-Day Shutdowns of Daniels and Mathews Wings

Here is the schedule for the planned shutdowns:

March 15-30       Daniels (including Seminar Hall) – closed to all occupants (switchover to new supply air system)

The newly installed fire doors in the Mathews / Daniels elevator lobby will be closed. Building-complex occupants should not enter the Daniels wing between March 15 and March 30 because Daniels will be a construction zone. This supersedes any approvals regarding building access that you may request or receive via

Heating, ventilation, and fume hood exhaust will be affected. There will be fluctuations in ambient room temperature. We do not expect electric power, process cooling loop, water, sewer, house nitrogen, or natural gas supply to be affected, but the construction activities are complex and extensive, so it is not possible to anticipate all eventualities. Instruments and equipment should be left in a condition that does not require monitoring during the period of the shutdown.

Occupants of the Daniels wing will need to prepare their labs and offices for the shutdown in a manner similar to what was done during the shutdowns for fire sprinkler installation. Closer to the time of the shutdown, we will send a list outlining your obligations for preparing your spaces.

April 14-29        Mathews – closed to all occupants (switchover to new exhaust system)

The schedule for Mathews is not yet final, so we will provide further details as planning develops. There will be four week’s advance notice of confirmed dates.

Graphic Schedule of Upcoming Events

Many different construction activities are simultaneously affecting our building complex. We summarize them graphically below.

Construction activities impacting existing buildings for week of March 1.

We thank Gerald David of Miron Construction and Jim Maynard for the photos used in this newsletter issue.

This information is up to date as of Monday morning. Email bulletins will be provided as needed.

John Moore and Bob McMahon