The University of Connecticut recently dedicated its new Marine Sciences Research Building designed to enhance coastal marine sciences at the University's oceanfront campus off Long Island Sound. The facility will serve as a home base for a variety of federal and state programs and organizations specializing in coastal marine sciences.
The Marine Sciences Research Building contains research and teaching labs, support facilities offices, conference and seminar spaces, saltwater fluid dynamics labs, computer labs and classrooms. Carefully integrated into a diverse campus, the five-story, 140,000-gsf facility responds not only to the needs of undergraduates and graduate students but also visiting corporate researchers, necessitating a zoned building with a variety of security levels. An important addition to the campus, the building creates new circulation patterns and blends with those already established.
The research laboratory wing of the building is designed using an 11?? module. Laboratories can be readily reconfigured from a single small instrument lab to a large multi-module open laboratory. Modular labs are fully equipped with fume hoods; lab work units; handwash sinks; mechanical, electrical, plumbing; gas cylinders; seawater storage; and eyewash stations. Principal investigator offices are located outside the lab modules, which can be customized to specific needs and changing technology.
Other building highlights include environmental chambers that control temperature and light to mimic specific water conditions; teaching labs designed for chemistry, biology, and hydrodynamics instruction; and four ?gclean?h chemistry labs for precise measurement of heavy metals, organic pollutants, and other compounds.
Fourteen-foot, floor-to-floor heights provide adequate horizontal chase space for the specialized mechanical systems needed in a laboratory building. Noise and vibrations that can be generated by the building mechanical systems have been carefully controlled to avoid impacting sensitive research.
The building design creates an atmosphere conducive to interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving as well as opportunities for synergistic interaction; ease of accessibility; and flexibility to accommodate current and future needs. Collaboration among disciplines is encouraged through shared support spaces, conference rooms, teleconferencing/distance learning rooms, display/announcement boards, and lounges.
Support and preparation for offshore research activities are provided at the ground floor level. Machine and electric shops, remote operated vehicle (ROV) laboratory, and extensive storage augment state-of-the-art activities. Also at the ground floor level, provisions for research ?gvan?h construction are located directly adjacent to the pier, enabling simple transfer to seagoing research vessels.
The campus infrastructure was replaced as a component of the overall campus revitalization and a new central utilities plant provides hi-temp and chilled water for the campus. Because of its location near the water?fs edge and estuarine soil conditions, site preload was required to control settlement from damaging the new piped utilities.
Related to the facility is the new, two-story Project Oceanology, an innovative marine science and environmental education center for middle and high school students. Operated by a non-profit association of schools, colleges, and educational institutions in the tri-state area, the facility is open to the public for a sampling of true marine research life.
The Marine Sciences Research Building has become the centerpiece of the 72-acre University of Connecticut Avery Point campus, a tangible symbol of the ongoing commitment of the University and the State of Connecticut to develop this emerging specialty field at the mouth of the Thames River.