Under a Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Capital Improvements Program, the country’s first historically black college and university (HBCU) demonstrated their commitment to sustainability throughout design and construction of the 40,000-square-foot building.
The $23-million, three-story building supports academic and research efforts of the Department of Natural and Applied Sciences. The first new academic building constructed on the historic campus in 30 years, the building features laboratories, classrooms, seminar and lecture rooms, and faculty offices. The center also includes a greenhouse and new planetarium with a prefabricated dome roof.
Burns provided structural engineering design and construction-phase services. A mixture of structural systems was utilized to frame the building, including reinforced concrete, precast concrete planks, load-bearing masonry walls, structural steel, steel joists, composite floor deck, and a steel roof deck.
The building superstructure is supported on caissons with the basement floor slab and portions of the first floor slab constructed on grade. A mechanical penthouse was constructed on the extensive green roof to house equipment for the building systems.
The design and construction followed sustainability principles to ensure the building would provide an energy efficient, environmentally responsible, and campus friendly facility.