The Mathews Chemistry Laboratories and the Daniels Chemistry Building, built for the Department of Chemistry in 1963 and 1967 respectively, originally provided the required research space for the University of Wisconsin's Department of Chemistry. However, the aging buildings fell behind current standards for safe and productive laboratories.
The large, adjoining buildings were originally designed with 12' floor-to-floor heights. This prevented the addition of new technology in MEP systems because of inadequate ceiling space to house them. Painted masonry walls offered limited flexibility in changing the lab configurations over time to reflect new science. The buildings offered little to inspire prospective chemistry students.
Renovations to the Mathews and Daniels buildings were completed in October 2002. Renovated laboratory space enhances graduate research and better serves the 427 faculty, staff, and post-docs who occupy the facility.
Remodeling of the existing research laboratories was a priority and included increased fume hood access for students at workstations, as well as installation of localized benchtop exhaust systems. The renovations not only address safety concerns, but also brought state-of-the-art equipment to the facility.
Renovation work to the north half of the Mathews building included removing student desks from lab space to create student offices and apparatus labs in a module adjacent to the lab. The number of students was reduced to create a better ratio between fume hood and bench space per student. The north half uses a single supply air unit, thus dictating the decisions made regarding the renovation. An exception to this strategy was the second floor which, when renovated, allowed the relocation of two NMRs from the north side to the south side.
An instructional laboratory allows students to conduct data research. Analysis of the data can be done in a computer laboratory, while a study room is available for teams to discuss their findings. Offices for teaching assistants provides for information, small-group interactions between the TAs and students. Formerly off-site, the integrated Chemistry Learning Center provides academic assistance to minority and "at-risk" undergraduate students. The renovated chemistry library provides substantially expanded access to electronic information resources.
An additional Seminar Hall helps serve the 4,000 students who daily use the classrooms each fall. The Seminar Hall works with the new Research Tower to "bookend" the Mathews and Daniels buildings. The 120-seat Seminar Hall has experienced near continuous use seven days a week for course instruction, research seminars, graduate student presentations, group meetings, conferences, and outreach activities.
Reconfiguring the first-floor public corridors served to integrate the Matthews and Daniels buildings, the Seminar Hall, and the Research Tower.