Major renovations are underway to update Grote Hall as the new lab and classroom spaces for Chemistry, Physics/Geology/Astronomy and Environmental Science. This complicated and challenging project demanded a design to satisfy future laboratory requirements and to accommodate the critical lab activity that will remain in operation during construction. The project cost is $8.25 million. It is scheduled for completion by fall 2010.
“The renovations were necessary first and foremost because the building was built in 1968 and it is nearly 40 years old. The building systems had lived their lives and needed upgrading,” said Janet Spraker, Director of Engineering Services. “Additionally, this laboratory building required numerous code upgrades necessary to ensure proper fume hood operation, safety showers and more.”
What started as a $4.25 million capital maintenance project with mechanical, electrical, and life safety upgrades has become a full building overhaul, Spraker said. Occupants of the building were moved to other locations as well as the new Collins Street modular buildings.
“Since the building had to be mostly vacated to do the work, additional state funds were requested to allow for updating the labs to allow for current teaching methods for Chemistry and Physics/Geology and providing new Environmental Science labs, in addition to the building infrastructure work,” Spraker said. “All labs will be outfitted with new casework. The current fume hood count in Grote is around 20, after the project it will be over 70. Most of this is to allow for current methods of teaching organic chemistry and research requirements.”
Plans have been approved by the Tennessee State Fire Marshal and a contract was awarded to Pointe General Contractors.
Facilities Planning and Management will work with the UT System office, the architect, and the general contractor to deliver the project for its scheduled completion date, Spraker said.