A new, state-of-the-art Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Building (CBEB) is now serving students, educators, and researchers on Penn State University’s (PSU) Main Campus. Barton Malow performed construction management services on the $144-million, 193,400 -SF, six-story facility (not including a lower level), which replaces the Fenske Building as the new home of PSU’s chemical engineering and biomedical engineering departments.
The facility includes labs, classrooms, conference rooms, student common areas, the Dow Chemical Knowledge Commons collaborative student space, and a 150-seat auditorium ideal for hosting classes and special presentations. The research labs, specifically, were designed with transparent glass walls to permit visitors and students to observe the work being carried out inside. Many were also constructed in an open format, “lab neighborhood” fashion, to allow collaboration between research teams.
The CBEB is currently pursuing LEED Gold certification, as it was built with the environment in mind. The foundation was designed in a way not to disturb the root systems of the bordering dawn redwood trees, and more than 1 ton of recycled glass was used to help make the terrazzo flooring in the building’s main lobby.
Construction of the CBEB was necessary to support department growth. According to officials, the university’s biomedical engineering department has grown from 15 graduates in 2005 to about 120 today. The number of Ph.D. students in the department has also doubled in recent years. PSU administrators view the building and its leading amenities as a way to facilitate even more departmental growth as well as attract industry-leading faculty.