Construction Update 04/12/2021

New Tower

The exterior of the new tower looks better every day as workers apply terra cotta decorative panels to the north façade. The southwest and west façades are already finished, so it won’t be long before the entire exterior is complete. There are hundreds of workers inside the tower who are painting walls, installing laboratory casework and fume hoods, completing infrastructure, installing electric outlets, ethernet ports, and wireless access points, and otherwise getting the building ready for us to begin occupying it in early June. The current schedule calls for the tower to be substantially complete and available for us to begin moving in on June 9th.

Workers on scaffolds and lifts are decorating the north façade of the new tower with terra cotta panels.
Another indicator that the building is nearly ready for us to occupy is the installation of “Light Spectra”, the sculpture that formerly graced the atrium outside the old lecture halls near the Mills Street and University Avenue entrance. “Light Spectra” is now on display in a two-story area that is a student interaction space in the sub-basement, near the rear entrance to the 250-seat lecture room. It is great to have this huge sculpture on display again in its new home, even if we can’t view it in person for at least a couple months.

"Light Spectra" as it will be seen by students in the interaction space outside the 250-seat lecture room or on their way to class.

Mathews 16-Day Shutdown Begins Wednesday, April 14

The Mathews wing will be closed to all occupants from April 14-30, so that the old exhaust system can be replaced with a new exhaust system that uses fans in the new tower. During the shutdown, the building will be operating in a condition of 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 accessibility 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.

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 Shain wing will find ice, and dry ice at the 5th-floor equipment corridor, Shain tower (outside Rm. 5143). Liquid nitrogen will be available from a Dewar located at the 6th-floor equipment corridor, Shain tower (outside Rm. 6143).

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 emergency). Do not enter the Mathews wing, which will be a construction zone. Ice, dry ice, and liquid nitrogen will be available in Rm. 2369. 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 the 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 bench tops.  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
    5. Non‐hazardous chemicals (not flammable, corrosive, or volatile) can be temporarily moved into any sturdy wooden cabinet.
  9. Carboys need to be capped and moved into secure location inside a cabinet or fume hood.
  10. Fume hood sashes need to be closed
  11. Biological labs, use an appropriate disinfectant.
  12. Biosafety cabinets (BSCs): protect HEPA filter with plastic and plywood (or similar hard material).
  13. Labs with radioactive materials should work with Radiation Safety to secure their materials.
  14. Gas cylinders may remain with regulators in place.  If possible, close cylinder valve and depressurize regulator.
  15. Glove boxes may remain in normal operating condition.
  16. 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 deenergized.
    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 deenergized.
  17. Any high‐value materials should be secured.
  18. 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 exhaust shutdowns in small portions of floors 3-9 of the Daniels wing. These shutdowns are necessary to allow workers to connect 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.

Graphic Schedule of Upcoming Events

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

construction activities impacting existing events 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