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BE&K Building Group provided preconstruction and construction management at risk services for the University of Florida’s (UF) four-story, 110,300 sf Research & Academic Center. UF’s qualification-based selection of BE&K Building Group validated their strength and reputation in the life sciences and higher education markets. Designed to achieve LEED Gold certification, the project exceeded expectations and was certified at the Platinum level. The facility is sited within Florida’s 600-acre Lake Nona Science & Technology Park. It is one of the University’s first major research facilities to be constructed outside its Gainesville “home.”
The facility’s design includes a conventionally reinforced concrete structure, with a façade clad with complex exterior finishes including curtain wall and a composite metal panel with terra-cotta rain screen system. An elaborate stainless steel sunshade element on the west elevation contributes to heat load reduction, increasing energy efficiency.
Multiple program revisions occurred throughout the construction phase, including the significant addition of a Central Energy Plant (CEP). In addition, an approximate $10 million owner-initiated change was implemented during the heart of the project to fit-up the partially constructed laboratory wing’s second and third floors to BSL-2 and BSL-3 spaces. The BSL areas incorporate epoxy floors, walls and ceilings.
State-of-the-art mechanical systems were required to support the facility and its BSL spaces. Systems incorporate many energy-efficient features including one of the first applications of “chilled beams” in the state of Florida, as well as energy recovery units. Heat exchangers and fume hoods with exhaust fans were also installed.
Redundant systems were constructed within the CEP and include a dedicated mechanical penthouse, two emergency generators, two air handling units, one air cooled chiller, two banks of dual exhaust fans, 12 dedicated HEPA filters, eight autoclaves with multiple supporting pumps and Variable Frequency Drives. Complex security and monitoring systems were also installed.
Funding for construction was phased through a series of progressive package releases during construction. Buyout savings from these six (6) individual GMPs was returned to UF early in the project