HOK Designs UWSP Chem-Biology Building

Following a May 5, 2016, groundbreaking, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is targeting a 2018 completion for a new $75 million science building.

HOK in association with Madison, Wisconsin-based architectural firm Potter Lawson designed the 176,500-sq.-ft. chemistry biology building. The four-story academic and research facility will contain classrooms, lecture halls, research and teaching labs, faculty and staff offices, and a tropical conservatory. It will be the first major freestanding academic facility built on the UW-Stevens Point campus since 1971.

“The building design links the university’s science programs to create a community of science and research,” said Joseph Ostafi, IV, AIA, LEED AP, Science + Technology practice leader for HOK in St. Louis. “The university also wanted to celebrate science by integrating the building into campus life.”

The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point’s student-centered education prepares students for their future science careers while encouraging community outreach and ecological stewardship. The new Chemistry Biology Building is located along a major pathway connecting student housing with the university’s’ social amenity spaces.

The design also puts science on display throughout the building with electronic kiosks and high visibility into biology labs and the tropical conservatory, which will be open to all students and visitors. The first floor will also feature artwork inspired by the natural environment. Inside the building, teaching spaces will be clearly visible to students and campus visitors.

To integrate academic and research functions, the design purposefully places research, instructional and prep spaces close to each other to enable equipment sharing. Flexible classroom configurations include movable furniture that accommodates collaboration among teams of varying sizes. State-of-the-art technology will facilitate hands-on learning and research.

The team incorporated several sustainable design strategies. Large windows optimize daylighting, while mechanical and electrical systems are highly efficient. The facility is projected to use 40 percent less energy and 26 percent less water compared to a conventional design. In addition to the conservatory, green space around the building includes bioswales and rain gardens. The third floor has an outdoor patio with a rooftop garden and space for casual gatherings.

Wisconsin-based Miron Construction Co. will be the general contractor.

HOK is a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm.

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