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Kentucky Wesleyan College Yu Hak Hahn Center for the Sciences

Owensboro, Kentucky

Getting the Most out of a Generous Donation and a Small Footprint

From the outside, the Yu Hak Hahn Center for the Sciences blends nicely with the traditional brick architecture on Kentucky Wesleyan’s campus. From the inside, however, the facility is clearly exceptional, comprising 28,000 square feet of space dedicated to scientific education and discovery. When Kentucky Wesleyan received a financial gift directed for the construction of the center, the college needed a program manager to efficiently utilize the available funds. HPM assisted with budgeting and cost engineering for the labs and high-end scientific equipment to make the most of the financial gift. The HPM team scheduled the highly complicated build around a harsh Kentucky winter and even acted as general contractor, bidding out subcontractors and overseeing construction. The resulting building doesn’t have a big footprint, but it has left a major mark on Kentucky Wesleyan and on scientific progress.

Engineering Maximum Safety and Comfort in Minimal Space

An essential part of any chemistry lab, the fume hood is responsible for protecting scientists from the volatile, toxic or even biohazardous airborne byproducts of their research. The system requires constant positive air pressure, with air brought in from the outside, conditioned for the scientists’ comfort and then filtered and exhausted from the building. To avoid the incredible heating bills that comes with such a system, HPM installed a heat recovery unit, recovering heat from the outgoing filtered air and applying it to the incoming air from the outside. The equipment to perform this task is approximately the size of a small car. HPM determined that the only place it would fit in the relatively small building was in a crawl space at the top — and had to be in place before the roof was built. So on top of the value engineering and sheer complexity of such a high-tech build, HPM managed the construction schedule to make room for a car-sized installation before roofing began.

Winter Is Coming

Anyone who imagines Kentucky as a land of year-round sun and rolling green hills has never visited northern Kentucky in the winter. The Bluegrass State becomes a land of snow and frozen ground during the winter, making construction scheduling a delicate affair. HPM laid out a tight sequence, beginning in early May, to get and keep construction on track. Steel was pre-ordered. Foundations were begun as soon as the ground was thawed enough to dig, so the entire building would be enclosed — and builders shielded from the elements — before cold weather hit in November. Interior work had to be completed by the time the weather broke in the spring, so workers could go outside to pour sidewalks and put in landscaping. By holding construction precisely to the detailed schedule with minimal deviation, HPM completed the project on time and on budget, giving Kentucky Wesleyan’s scientists and students a new, high-end facility before the end of spring.




Project Details

  • 28,000 sq. ft.
  • 2-story science education building
  • Wet lab with fume hoods
  • Water, gas and vacuum lines
  • Greenhouse
  • Associated Builders and Contractors, Excellence in Construction Award

Owner

Kentucky Wesleyan College

Architect

RossTarrant Architects

HPM Services

  • Program management