Integrated Science Building dedicated

The new 157,000-square-foot Integrated Sciences Building, the anchor of a planned new science complex, was dedicated Sept. 14. The $114.5 million, four-story ISB includes 85,000 square feet of modern classrooms and laboratories, a 300-seat auditorium, research laboratories and faculty offices. In addition, the high-performance design incorporates many environmentally friendly and energy-saving green-building techniques.

“UMass Amherst is a national leader in developing new approaches to teaching and learning science, and the ISB laboratories will further the development of more novel teaching approaches into practice,” said Chancellor Robert Holub. “This building and our additional science investments will play a pivotal role in preparing the Massachusetts workforce for success in today’s innovation economy.”

The bright, airy ISB, with an interactive Molecular Playground chemistry demonstration in the lobby, has already become a lively study and meeting destination for students. Coming next is the $144 million New Science Building, currently in design, which will connect to the ISB. This 290,000 square-foot facility will provide outstanding new research capabilities on campus. A groundbreaking is planned for next spring.

Along with Holub, featured speakers at the dedication ceremony included President Jack Wilson, Congressman John Olver, Trustee Henry Thomas III, alumnus Robert Mahoney, Steve Goodwin, dean of the College of Natural Sciences (CNS) and Jim Kurose, executive associate dean of CNS.

The ISB houses all undergraduate chemistry teaching labs and upper-division labs for molecular biology, cell biology, genetics and physiology. These offer specialized microscopes and access to advanced imaging technologies, lasers and sophisticated tissue culture facilities. The building also provides individual Internet and computer connections in its 48-seat lecture hall, a student computer room, small group and seminar rooms, distance-learning capabilities, plus research and office space for Veterinary and Animal Sciences faculty.

In keeping with the campus’s emphasis on energy conservation and green technologies, a part of the ISB roof will literally host green, growing plants. An intensive roof garden with up to 42 inches of soil to support a variety of plants, shrubs and small trees is installed over the chiller plant and an extensive roof garden with thinner soil depths is in place over the loading dock. The latter is restricted to plants that can withstand harsh growing conditions.

Notably, the builders were able to use 100 percent of the steel recycled from the demolition of the Marshall Annex, a World War II-era building that stood on the same site until 2006.

The ISB will reuse rainwater in its cooling system, reducing the amount the campus needs to take from Amherst’s town water supply. Overall, these steps will save up to 250,000 gallons a day for the town water supply during the cooling season, according to facilities managers. Many of the windows have insulated or specially treated glass to reduce both heating and cooling losses.

Further, labs and offices have hot water, radiant perimeter ceiling panels to provide perimeter heating while maintaining minimal airflow during unoccupied times. Motion detectors will turn certain lighting fixtures off when not in use. Rubber flooring in lab areas and partially recycled-content vinyl and ceramic tiles were used in the high circulation areas.

Construction made extensive use of eco-friendly materials such as sustainable bamboo, and the building has a high efficiency, state-of-the-art heat exchange system for heating and ventilation. In the heating season exhaust air from the classroom wing will be used to preheat incoming cold air serving the lab areas. This heat wheel system should recover 50 percent more heat and moisture than a typical system used in laboratory buildings. Using both steam and electric chillers will help the campus to balance steam and electric consumption and maximize operating efficiency at the new Central Heating Plant.

Funding for the ISB includes $101 million in funds borrowed through the UMass Building Authority; a $4.5 million U.S. Department of Energy grant; a $1 million U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration grant; $2.5 million in state funds; $3.5 million in campus funds, and a $2 million private gift. The private gift is from Kathleen and Robert Mahoney, who graduated in 1970, and Richard and Barbara Mahoney, who graduated in 1955. Robert Mahoney, vice chairman of Citizens Financial Group, spoke at the September 2006 ground-breaking ceremony.

Payette Associates Inc. served as designers/architects of the building. Construction by Gilbane Building Co. was substantially complete for the first three floors in January 2009. The fourth floor and basement, which are research facilities, are expected to be complete in January 2010.