Houghton Construction Blog - Phase 2

The second phase of this project includes the renovation of (1) about one forth of the basement, which includes spaces for physics labs, rock storage and a rock cutting/polishing lab and building mechanical systems, (2) all of the first floor that included the departments of Physics and Geoscience, the main office, several meeting rooms and a large lounge and, (3) one half of the second floor which will house the Department of Computer and Information Sciences, a laptop lounge for collaborative study and the Stanley Museum.  There will be "shelled" spaces in the basement and the second floor for another department and/or future classrooms. Many of the photographs here were taken by Daniel S. Dechert (Rogers Enterprises) who is part of the construction management team.

March 10, 2020

LARGE stuff in the Mechanical Rooms in the basement...

The electric feed from National Grid is brought into the building to the new switch gear (below). From there it is fed through a transformer, which knocks power down to usable level for required equipment. Then it is fed into distribution equipment, which feed the individual panels throughout building

Main Gear

This is the air handling unit being installed in the center of the basement - it circulates air through the entire HVAC (heating, ventilation, air conditioning) system.

AHU install

This is refered to as RPZ or the reduced pressure zone where the water pressure is reduced as it comes into building;  this also prevents any backflow and contamination to the  main water source.


The wall tile is up in the second floor bathroom.

Wall tile in the 2nd bathroom

Below left is the mock up of the new terrazzo flooring.  On the right are equipment pads in one of the mechanical rooms.

terrazzo mock up equipment pads

March 5, 2020

A group from Physics and Geoscience went over to Houghton to look at some of the cabinets that had been mocked up and ended up getting a quick tour!  Things are looking great.

Below is the view from the second to the top of the main stairs (blocked by scaffold).  Computer labs are on the right.  Below right is a mock up of a rock drawer

main stairs from 2nd floor  rock drawer

A worker is installing the terrazzo mock up that will be reviewed next week by the architects.

terrazzo instal

This is a study area that will look out at Fenton.  The picture on the right will be another study lounge, this one looks onto the Science Center Courtyard.  It will not be completed until "phase 4" when the spaces for Math are completed.

study area  student lounge

This is a side corridor within the Physics "neighborhood"

side cooridor

This is looking into one of the Computer Science faculty offices looking out onto the Science Quad.

physics office

This is looking into the Stanley Natural Science Museum... I'm standing where one of the glass walls will be installed.

Stanley Museum

This is inside the Main Office where the doors lead to the offices for each department chairperson.  The open space will be where the administrative assistants will sit.  There is a side alcove where the copier and mailboxes will be located.

Main Office

January 27, 2020

Action on the second floor...

The drywall is in place in the Open Access Laptop Lounge - the indentations are where the display screens will be for hooking up to laptops.

Open Laptop lab

Doorframes are in place around CSIT Offices on the second floor

Office Framed

Below, the small conservation room off the Stanley Museum has insulation and wall board.

Stanley Conservation room

Wall boards are up in the 2nd floor bathroom

wall boards 2nd bathroom

Below left is a water pressure test on the first floor. On the right is insulated piping on the second floor.

hydro pressure test  piping insulation

Electrical work - on left are the main feeder runs from the electrical panels and on the right, wire is being pulled through the boxes in the first floor MEP room.

main feeder lineswire through boxes

Ductwork is being hung in the basement

ductwork in basement

November 22, 2019

Below is the start of the framing system for the glass walls in the Stanley Museum (forefront) and the Open Computer Lab on the second floor.

Soffit frame for glass wall Stanley CS ope lab

The picture on the left is from inside one of the mechanical rooms where they are completing the metal framing on the top of the wall to allow penatrations for various mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems.  The picture on the left is the "mock-up" for the shades.  Many in the Science Center feel that we could have had darker shades, especially since our offices face south.  We want to get it right in Houghton.  I'm waiting for a sunny day to check them out!

Top of MEP room basementMock up for shades 

Lots of work in the ceiling area - there has been copper plumbing installed in addition to more ductwork and a lot of wire has been pulled.

various systems in second floor ceiling

copper piping inside CS lab



copper plumbing 2nd floor hallselectrical 2nd floor

November 11, 2019 - What is with the tubing?  What you are seeing below are the temporary storm drains.  The plumbing for these are being replaced within the building but will not be hooked up to the roof drains until the roof is replaced in the spring.  Unfortunately, we will be looking at these until then.

temporary storm drains

October 30, 2019

These pictures show more (color coded) conduit above the NE stairway (near Fenton) and the progress they havee made with ducts, condit and fire suppression on the second floor.

colored conduitducts conduit sprinkler

The picture on the left is ductwork being installed on the first floor by the loading dock (the elevator is on the left).  The picture on the right shows the extend of "roughing in" of the electrical conduit to the hydrogeology research lab.

Ductwork by front entranceHydrogeology research lab

Below left is copper piping for plumbing.  The little bundles wrapped in silver are just places where the installers put insulation inside the installation brackets.  Eventually all of the pipe will be insulated.  Also in this picture, you can see that they'ed mounted a diffuser onto the ductwork.  The picture on the left are th toilet carriers which are wall mounted fixtures that will not have any contact with the floor.

Copper piping for plumbingbathroon carriers

October 25, 2019

Check out these drawings!  These are from a program called BIM “Building Information Modeling" and they are used to coordinate the different trades (plumbers, electricians, masons, etc.) so that work gets done in a logical order and no two trades are trying to work at the same time in the same area.  It can also determine if there will be a problem like that below where storm drain piping could be in the way of a dropped ceiling.   There is a company called Rexis Technology that inputs the architectural drawings and feedback from the trades into the BIM program which then produces the coordination drawings - on a computer, these show up as 3D drawings.

BIM drawing

BIM drawing

October 7-18, 2019 Electrical Duct Bank Installation

While excavating a path to lay new electrical conduit, the contracters found an 5' deep abandonded vault that used to support high temperature hot water lines that were once used for heating [This may seem crazy to those new to campus but we once piped steam from a heating plant to buildings all over campus; this resulted in a strip of grass showing all winter in the science quad!].  The pictures below show the vault under a sidewalk, the top of it once the sidewalk was cleared and then its removal with a jackhammer.  Below those pictures are those of the conduit being laid and then the concrete pour above the conduit.  They will back fill this the first week of November.  Probably a lot of people have been watching this as they walk in front of Houghton.

ductbank under sidewalk

ductbankdemo steam bank

conduit into buildingconcrete pour ductbank

October 4, 2019

For those of us who lived in and loved Houghton Hall, it's nice to see there is still some of the warm brick in the basement corridors.  Much of it will be painted.

Basement brick walls

They continue to frame offices, those on the left are for Geoscience.  They are also starting to install drywall in the animal colony (right).  There is an areaway behind the louvers in the picture on the right where heavy equipment that cannot be put in the elevator can by hoisted down into the basement.

framing in Geoscience

Areaway behind louvers

September 30, 2019

On the left is a picture of the sleeves in the decking that allow MEP (mechanical, electric & plumbing) to move to upper floors.  The picture on the right shows that they are "roughing in" the boxes for internet and electrical in the offices.

Sleeves in decking

electrical roughing

This picture is taken looking up into the ceiling - there is a lot up there!  From the left there is conduit, then ductwork, then more conduit and the the lines for the sprinklers.  The conduit is all color coded - yellow is for lights, black is power, red is fire alarm and orange is for emergency power.

conduit ducts sprinklers

September 23, 2019

There is a lot going on here.  Below left is the new wall for utilities after fire stop was applied (red) and on the right is a similar wall in the basement after being insulated.

fire stop on cmu wall

cmu wall after insulation

There is a lot of framing going on!  The picture on the right is of one of the computer science teaching labs.

framing 2nd floor

framed compute lab

Wall Framing

September 16, 2019

They have been busy building a new wall that will contain the core for a utility chase.  This is in the middle of the building.  The have also been "Parging" some of the exposed beams that were damage or discolored.  This one on the right is in the rock storage room in the basement.

cmu wall

parged beam

At the same time they have been assembling ductwork and the sprinkler piping on the second floor.


sprinkler piping

August 2019

One of the big design challenges for the Houghton renovation was dealing with the depth of the rooms outside the cooridor (see left picture below) where 95% of the perimeter spaces (with windows) was occupied by classrooms or labs and only 5% were offices.  By placing new side cooridors within each department space, the faculty offices will be moved to the perimeter.  

Mitchell Giurgola Architects LLP

The existing "racecourse" cooridor terrazzo floors  are in good shape and will remain.  Since the new side cooridors will be placed where labs or classrooms once existed, the floor below them is the wrong depth to pour new terrazzo.  Below a worker is "scarifying" the concrete floor which is the process of grinding it down so that when the sections of new terrazzo floor are poured they are the same heights of the existing terrazzo.  You can see that except for a little bit of framing for offices, the space is almost totally open.

scarifying floors