Construction Update 04/05/2021

Daniels Wing Rejuvenated after 16-Day Shutdown

The Daniels wing re-opened right on time at 9:00 am, Wed Mar 31, at which time occupants returned, checked that fume hoods were working appropriately and restarted research work. The supply-air changeover went remarkably smooth thanks to the careful planning of the very complex operation by Jason Schrank, Superintendent, North American Mechanical, Inc. (NAMI). Jason’s plans were carried out by an excellent team who worked long hours seven days a week to maintain the very tight schedule.

Supply air (heated or cooled fresh air) is now being provided to floors 3-9 of the Daniels wing by new equipment in the tower that is fully operational at design specifications. Removal of the concrete slabs that formerly supported the old air-handling units on the ninth floor of Daniels is more than half complete. The slabs are being moved along the ninth-floor corridor to the Daniels freight elevator and then from the freight elevator to the loading dock along corridors on the first floor of Daniels and Mathews wings. Please do not enter the ninth-floor corridor north of the freight elevator where these slabs are being moved. (Room 9341 remains closed.) Take special care in the Mathews and Daniels first-floor corridors to stay out of the way of workers who are moving the concrete slabs. This trailer provided supplemental toilet facilities during construction but is no longer needed.

Basement-level entrances/exits to Daniels along Johnson St. have re-opened so students can again access classrooms and laboratories in the Daniels wing and Seminar Hall. The toilet trailer that was installed at the beginning of the demolition of the north end of Daniels is in the process of being removed, so the appearance of Daniels along Johnson Street will soon be similar to what it was before construction began.

New Tower

We can now see how most of the exterior of the new tower will look when it is complete. Crews are rapidly installing decorative terra cotta panels on the north and southeast facades. The west and southwest facades are already complete. Temporary louvers on the eighth floor of the tower, which supplied outside air to the old air-handling units in Daniels, have been replaced by windows that match the floors below. The new tower looks better every day. It is only a little more than two months until we can begin occupying the new building!

side of the 9th-floor of the tower

Thursday 8 April Outages Will Affect All Wings of the Chemistry Complex

From 6:00 am to 6:00 pm the process cooling water loop outage in all wings. The process cooling loop, which provides cooling for lasers, vacuum pumps, and air conditioners, will be interrupted to repair bearings on a pump and install bypass valves to reduce the need for future shutdowns. This outage affects only those with equipment connected to the process cooling water system. An email notification will indicate when the system is back in operation.

Mathews wing will be closed to all occupants for extensive work on all electrical systems. Electric power in 110-V and 208-V circuits will be off on all floors from 6:00 am to 12:00 noon. Electric power will continue to be off on the second floor until 6:00 pm. This work affects the entire department because the NMR facility will be closed, the liquid-nitrogen facility will be closed, the solvent-storage and gas-cylinder rooms will be inaccessible, and the loading dock will be inaccessible. Plans are in place for research groups with -80 °C freezers.

During this outage, entry to the Daniels wing is through basement entrances along Johnson St. (Do not enter at Shain tower and cross through Mathews.) The fire doors at Mathews / Daniels elevator lobbies will be closed. Do not use the Mathews stair towers (except in emergency). This information supersedes any approvals regarding building access that you may request or receive via

Mathews 16-Day Shutdown, April 14-31       

The Mathews wing will be closed to all occupants so that the old exhaust system can be replaced with a new exhaust system that uses fans in the new tower. The building will be operating in a condition of the reduced capacity of fresh air. There will be NO exhaust from fume hoods or the liquid nitrogen fill room (1245). Air circulation in the building will be accomplished by opening windows in laboratories by a small amount to allow the tempered supply air to escape. (Windows will not be opened in office areas.)

The NMR facility and the research stockroom will be closed. There will be limited access to the liquid-nitrogen facility. Large, closed-container liquid nitrogen Dewars may be filled in Rm. 1245 only during business hours (8 am – 4 pm). Open-container liquid nitrogen Dewars may not be filled in Rm. 1245. If you typically draw liquid nitrogen in open Dewars, you will need to fill from a transport Dewar located at the loading dock, or, depending on your expected usage during the period of Mathews shutdown, you may need to order your own Dewar of liquid nitrogen from AirGas.

The solvent-storage room, gas cylinder room, and loading dock will have limited accessibility—only during business hours and only by prior arrangement with Adam. Incoming packages will be delivered to the office of each group PI.

A crane will be located near the loading dock. Stay away from the area around the loading dock; there will be considerable overhead work directly above the loading dock.

Occupants of the Daniels wing must enter through basement entrances along Johnson St. (Do not enter at Shain tower and cross through Mathews.) Fire doors at Mathews / Daniels elevator lobbies will be closed. Do not use the Mathews stair towers (except in an emergency). Do not enter the Mathews wing, which will be a construction zone. Those with a specific purpose at the loading dock or nitrogen fill room can enter only during business hours. This information supersedes any approvals regarding building access that you may request or receive via

Occupants of Mathews wing:  These steps are to protect construction workers, protect staff members who may need to check on lab status during the construction period, and to protect your equipment and materials left behind.

  1. Please ensure that there are no active experiments.
  2. All chemical containers must be closed and capped.
  3. Remove all items from the windowsills and the window walls in laboratories.  Maintenance personnel will need clear access to all windows in Mathews laboratories.  It is conceivable that a driving rain could cause water to enter the lab.  Relocate items that might be impacted.
  4. Affected areas need to be shut down and stabilized. Assume you cannot enter the area during the entire 16-day shutdown.
  5.  Clear and clean all benchtops.  Put away, into cabinets and drawers, all glassware and other loose breakable or potentially hazardous objects.
  6. Remove all clutter from floors, including empty bottles.
  7. Remove all items from drying racks.
  8. All chemicals must be put away and secured in an appropriate location. No bottles of chemicals may remain on open shelves in the lab. This means chemicals must be stored in:
    1. Appropriately rated chemical storage cabinets
    2. Inside fume hoods
    3. In cabinets below fume hoods
    4. Moved into another laboratory location outside the project area
  9. Non‐hazardous chemicals (not flammable, corrosive, or volatile) can be temporarily moved into any sturdy wooden cabinet.
  10. Carboys need to be capped and moved into a secure location inside a cabinet or fume hood.
  11. Fume hood sashes need to be closed
  12. Biological labs use an appropriate disinfectant.
  13. Biosafety cabinets (BSCs): protect HEPA filter with plastic and plywood (or similar hard material).
  14. Labs with radioactive materials should work with Radiation Safety to secure their materials.
  15. Gas cylinders may remain with regulators in place.  If possible, close the cylinder valve and depressurize the regulator.
  16. Glove boxes may remain in normal operating condition.
  17. Electrical/mechanical equipment (lasers, electronic devices, vacuum pumps, machines):
    1. Refrigerators and freezers may remain in operation.
    2. Simple equipment (vacuum pumps beneath fume hoods, ovens, etc.) should be de-energized.
    3. Large equipment or vacuum systems may remain in operation only if it is feasible for them to be unattended for 16 days.  If it is not possible to operate, unattended, they should be de-energized.
  18. Any high‐value materials should be secured.

We realize that this outage is disruptive, but the result will be a much improved and much more reliable exhaust system for fume hoods in the Mathews wing—short-term pain but long-term gain.

Daniels Three-day Exhaust Interruptions

Beginning May 17 and extending into July there will be many three-day shutdowns of exhaust in small portions of the Daniels wing. These shutdowns are necessary to allow workers to connect the fume-hood exhaust to the new plenum that surrounds the Daniels rooftop. The facilities committee will notify those affected by each shutdown well in advance.

Construction at the North End of Daniels Continues

The new tower will be connected to the existing Daniels wing at 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, and 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 are being installed and will remain closed during the construction of the tower and for the duration of renovation of floors B, 1, and 2 Daniels.

Floors 3, 4, and 5 work involve the reconfiguration of rooms 3345 and 3351, 4343 and 4351, and 5341 and 5351. This construction work will create connections between floor 4 Daniels and the research floor 4 of the tower and a level connection between floor 5 Daniels and floor 5 in the tower. 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.

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

Wi-Fi Upgrade

The building-wide WiFi upgrade continues. Contractors are installing devices throughout the building complex. Work in Shain tower is nearly complete and work in Mathews and Daniels is ongoing. Installation of each device requires only a few minutes. There may be a momentary disruption of local WiFi service in the work area.

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 calendar

We thank Jim Maynard for a photo 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