Two lonely, three-story staircases stood in the academic corridor in April, like a pair of diving platforms gone searching for a pool. Then, over just 10 days, they were joined into a rigid 300-ton structure of steel beams and columns.
Erecting the steel frame was one of the quickest phases in the estimated 19-month construction of Swenson Science Center, and also one of the most important for the scientific research and teaching that will take place there starting in the fall of 2020.
The advanced building technology distributes stiffness up and down the structure. Combined with a pile foundation descending 30 feet underground, the bolted moment frame system (as it’s called) will not only protect against strong earthquakes, but also prevent light shaking from corrupting experimental data. This way, laboratories can do without special vibration-reducing tables for sensitive instruments. Both the frame and the foundation are the first of their kind on campus.
Connecting to Ahmanson Science Center over a bridge walkway, the 47,000-square foot building will showcase cutting-edge technologies in laboratories visible to visitors from a central hallway on each floor.
“The building is science on display,” said Valerie Crooks, senior project manager for Cal Lutheran.
Targeted for LEED Silver certification, the new science center will have a variety of energy-saving technologies. A hybrid HVAC system, similar to one used in a science building at CSU Long Beach, combines VRF (variable refrigerant flow) heating and cooling technology with outdoor units that pull fresh air into the building using the latest heat exchanger technology.
Actual hour-by-hour schedules for classes and labs are part of this equation: They’ll be updated to ensure that the HVAC and the lights consume the minimum energy possible.
For more about the Swenson Science Center and a camera on the construction in progress, visit science.callutheran.edu.