Utility lines moved, UNR building begins to take shape | nnbw.com

Utility lines moved, UNR building begins to take shape

Rob Sabo

After several months of difficult preparation of the site, crews from Martin Iron Works began erecting steel on the first of three buildings in the $46 million Davidson Mathematics and Science Center at the University of Nevada, Reno.

General contractor PENTA Building Group is six months into the 20-month project, which is slated for

completion by May 2010. However, PENTA Project Manager Bryan Richards hopes to be finished by January of that year.

The three buildings at the site will total 120,000 square feet. The five-story building “A” will be a state-of-the-art laboratory, building “B” will house offices, and the third building will be an auditorium.

Richards says preparing the site for the foundation of the laboratory building required extensive planning and coordination with Hershenow + Klippenstein architects of Reno. The main high-voltage electricity, sewer, storm sewer, water and gas lines for the school all had to be moved.

“The site utility stuff was really intense,” Richards says. “All the utilities were live. That was the big challenge we have had up to this point.”

Workers from civil engineer Odyssey Engineering of Sparks re-routed each utility one at a time until all

were out of the way of the footprint for the laboratory building. Richards says oftentimes what was uncovered was not what crews expected to find, but intense coordination with consultants from Hershenow + Klippenstein kept the job moving briskly.

“They have been absolutely fantastic,” he says. “If we found a condition in the ground that’s not the way it’s shown on the drawings, they came out and we figured it out right there.”

Although steel beams began flying into place, the headaches to the job aren’t over just yet. Ainsworth

Associates Mechanical Engineers of Reno will handle the extremely difficult task of routing a maze of utilities throughout the laboratory building.

“You have de-ionized water, compressed air, laboratory vacuum, industrial hot water and cold water, lab gas, tepid water you have got all of that piping at each work station,” Richards says.

“And it’s not like we have ample space to go wherever,” he adds. “It has an exact location to end up in, and it has a limited space to get there. It is literally pushing the limit of what we have for ceiling space.”

Because the lab building doesn’t have a basement, large air handlers, boilers and chillers will be located on its fifth floor. Richards says fifth-floor structural steel must be installed to pour concrete and then removed in order to install the huge heating and cooling units.

Finally, tying in a complex skin system of zinc panels will pose its own set of problems.

“What is complex about it is that you have masonry for a large section of the building, you have got glass and you have sections where metal ties into masonry. Everywhere the different materials meet each other you can’t have a leak,” Richards says.


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