Building on a busy, occupied campus presents challenges for any construction project. However, at the University of Colorado Boulder – a 600-acre campus with 33,246 students – the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building E-Wing Addition and Renovation project was unlike any other, requiring strict construction protocols and unique innovations to build and renovate without making noise or vibration.
The jobsite was sandwiched between the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, Prentup Field and Potts Field, requiring construction activities to be coordinated around the schedules of CU’s soccer, track and field and skiing teams in addition to the academic and research facilities. This limited scheduling construction work for weekends and off-hour work.
The addition had to be built with the building fully operational, connecting to a 330,000-sf facility containing numerous biochemical labs and vivariums which could not be moved or disturbed. These highly-sensitive labs – which included live animals, million-dollar investment research, dangerous chemicals and work by Nobel-prize winning scientists – were required to remain fully functional and running 24-7. Being an addition, these labs and learning environments were extremely close to where construction had to occur. Exterior windows of the existing structure became interior windows, creating no buffer zone for work.
The project required removing an entire side of the existing 3-story structure and rebuilding a 57,500-sf new addition. Connecting and tying into the current structure required precise engineering expertise to match up each floor elevation, restructure room layouts, which bridged old and new rooms, and connect to the existing main stairway and hallway which were permanent parts of the old building. 73 vertical feet of brick was removed from the exterior façade, leaving only 5” of studs and 1 layer of drywall between construction and labs conducting million-dollar research.
University of Colorado Boulder
ENR Mountain States, Best Project Awards, Best Higher Education/Research Project – Merit
AGC Awards for Construction Excellence (ACE), Best Building Project – General Contractor ($10 to $40M)