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SCSU Science Enclave

SCSU New Academic and Science Laboratory Building Increases STEM Education

Earlier this fall Southern Connecticut State University opened its doors to students in their new Academic and Science Laboratory building. The $49 million dollar project has been three years in the making and enhances the ongoing expansion of Southern’s science programs. Most importantly, it increases the university’s capacity to educate more students in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).


SCSU science enclave

View of atrium and quad gardens. Photo: SCSU


The 103,608 sq. ft., 4-level facility hosts space for both academic and laboratory applications. The building was built in the shape of an “L” allowing to connect with two pre-existing buildings, Jennings and Morrill halls. This creates a “science enclave” catering to various fields of study including teaching and research labs for physics and optics, astronomy, earth science, environmental science, molecular biology, cancer research and chemistry, as well as classrooms, study spaces and common areas. A super-computing laboratory for research in theoretical physics, bioinformatics and computer science is also included in the new complex.

Architectural firm Centerbrook Architects and Planners had their work cut out for them. Not only did the building require a lot of aesthetically pleasing yet functional design elements, it also needed to meet LEED Silver certification requirements. Some of the unique and sustainable design features include pitched roofs to not only collect rainwater used to water the science quad and the faculty garden, but also to shelter industrial fans used to exhaust 83 fume hoods. Some other fun elements are a hands-on experimental botanical garden, a geological boulder garden, as well as, a portion of the roofs have been left flat to accommodate six experimental Dobsonian telescopes.


SCSU unique features

Some of the building’s unique and sustainable features. Photo: SCSU


More Key Features

  • ConnScu Center for Nanotechnology located on the ground floor, where the laboratory space is designed to isolate the building vibrations, a necessity when dealing with microscopic materials.
  • Expanded wings for Earth Science, Environmental Science, Molecular Biology, Chemistry, The Center for Coastal Marine Studies, and Physics teaching and research laboratories.
  • A super-computing laboratory for research in theoretical science, bioinformatics, and computer science.
  • Saltwater aquarium room with touch tank and phytoplankton grow tank, which are the centerpiece of outreach to area schools and the community.
  • Village walkway on the first and second floor, to encourage student/faculty interactions and provide sunlight to all areas of the building.
  • Scientific displays throughout, illustrating the research interests of faculty and the students, including a replica of a nanotube — a focal point in the center of the building.
  • Connections to the existing science building, Jennings Hall, at the ground level and upper level.
  • Outdoor rock garden showcasing rocks indigenous to Connecticut. The garden also serves as an earth science laboratory.
  • Faculty garden, which adds to the campus’ sustainability focus.
  • Rain water collection, which is being used to water the science quad and faculty garden.
  • Two 50-seat classrooms, conference space, and student study areas.


SCSU decor

Science is incorporated every where, even in the building’s decor. Photo: New Haven Register


Flow Tech is extremely happy for our involvement on this innovative project. We supplied FIP Construction (construction manager) and Ferguson Mechanical (mechanical contractor) with three of our product lines, ABB, Phoenix Controls and TOXAlert.

ABB Variable Frequency Drives

Over 35 ACH550 VFDs were provided on this project. The ACH550 drive takes advantage of sophisticated microprocessor control and advanced IGBT power switching technology to deliver high-performance control of AC motors for a wide range of HVAC applications such as regulating fan or motor speed in an efficient, dependable and economic manner. Many of the VFDs purchased for this facility were used in conjunction with the exhaust fans used with Phoenix Controls.

Phoenix Controls Air Valves

Over 80 Phoenix Controls Valves were included on this project. Phoenix valves are designed specifically for facilities with high-risk safety requirements. These applications accommodate changes in airflow demand, reduce HVAC renovation costs, maintaining environmental integrity, and helped achieve this project’s LEED™ Silver certification goal. Two different types of valves were supplied for this building, Traccel and Celeris. Traccel airflow control valves are best used in life science facilities and Celeris airflow control valves are best suited in high-performance research settings.

TOXAlert Hazardous Gas Detection Systems

A TOX-REFRIG Refrigerant Leak Monitoring system, calibration kit and additional equipment were provided for this facility. TOX-REFRIG consists of a remote refrigerant sensor or sensors and a controller/annunciator panel. The TOX-REFRIG system is designed to continuously monitor mechanical refrigeration equipment rooms for refrigerant leaks and upon detecting a leak, the unit shall start ventilation equipment and annunciate alarm conditions. ASHRAE Standard 15-1994 recommends the use of refrigerant or oxygen depletion sensors depending on the class of refrigerant.


SCSU Quad view

Quad view of the building.
Photo: New Haven Register


This was an extremely exciting project to work on and be a part of for us. We’re happy to have helped the college achieve LEED Silver status for its new facility. It’s also great to know that there is yet another state-of-the-art, interactive and innovative science facility at one of our state’s colleges. BVH Integrated Services handled the MEP, Fire Protection and other disciplines’ engineering for SCSU’s new academic and lab facility. Their website features interesting project pictures, as well as a very informative video about the facility from Southern. We highly recommend you check it out here.

For more information about our involvement in this project feel free to contact us. You can always visit our website, share this post, or connect with us through other social media channels like Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.


1 Comment

  1. […] The New Academic & Science Lab at Southern is another project that we’ve featured on our blog. It was an exciting and interesting project and was great to be a part of something to helps advance SCSU’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.  The new facility and lab opened early this past fall to the new crop of students and has been a great addition to the campus ever since! To find out more about our involvement on this STEM project click here. […]

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