MSU Chemistry Building: HVAC Retrofit

Phase I

The existing 270,000-sf chemistry building was nearly 30 years old. The effectiveness of the HVAC systems diminished over time and were basically out-of-date with industry standards. The first step was to identify system deficiencies and then suggest a program for renovation. A comprehensive engineering study was completed, which led to development of a strategy to implement the renovation work. The overall program dictated a fast-track design and construction approach, driven by restrictions of the financing package.

FTCH provided complete design and construction administration services for all disciplines, as well as commissioning. Creative packaging and responsibility assignments for controls and commissioning work, along with construction by zones, and distinct HVAC sections, were critical to compress the overall schedule and meet established deadlines. These techniques also allowed the building to remain occupied and functional throughout construction.

Phase II

Unprecedented growth in Michigan State University’s chemistry program created the need to renovate and add research laboratory space. To do so, additional supply and exhaust air capacity was necessary to serve the laboratories’ fume hoods. Due to the success of FTCH’s past projects at the building and detailed familiarity with the building and its systems, MSU asked FTCH to design the new systems.

The design required the addition of two 80,000-cfm air handlers, two new major exhaust fans, and conversion of a significant portion of the building’s roof into a sixth level to house the equipment. It also led to the addition of strategically placed outside air intakes to bring air into the building from the best locations, and the extension of two building stairways to serve the added space created on the roof. FTCH worked closely with MSU and the construction manager to ensure successful implementation while the building remained occupied by researchers and students.