Best Higher Education/Research: NanoFab Xtension

This $365-million facility will be the research and development home for the Global 450mm Consortium—a public-private partnership focused on fostering the development of 450mm wafers and related semiconductor technology.

Connected by a link bridge to the State University of New York's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering campus in Albany, the 320,000-sq-ft, four-story NanoFab Xtension (NFX) building includes 50,000 sq ft of cleanroom space for manufacturing; two data centers; 5,000 sq ft of metrology labs; and 20,000 sq ft of office space and conference rooms. Project officials estimate that 1,000 scientists, researchers and engineers will use the new facility.

To accommodate the campus addition, contractors expanded the existing central utilities building (CUB) and installed 1,500 linear ft of utility trestle to route utilities to the NFX building.

Due to the cutting-edge nature of the facility, technology requirements were continuously changing, necessitating a disciplined process for handling and reporting change orders. The stream of changes included nearly 250 package revisions, more than 2,000 requests for information and 70 bid packages, with contractors ultimately issuing 50 major subcontracts.

The structure is built on an elevated mat slab that varies from 4 ft to 6 ft in depth. It features 4-ft-deep, cast-in-place waffle decks designed to extraordinary capacities to support semiconductor manufacturing tools and to mitigate vibration concerns for lithography manufacturing tools used during semiconductor fabrication.

Contractors were also challenged to mitigate the impact of widespread severe weather issues. When Hurricane Irene hit the region in 2011, a Virginia-based fabricator was unable to deliver precast materials to the site for three weeks due to flooding along the approved route. To meet the challenge, the team held detailed planning sessions to create more phase overlaps with the subsequent schedule activities. Despite the disruption, the project team met all major milestones.

Best Projects judges praised the team's efforts in completing the high-tech project in just two years. "The team had to accommodate incredible levels of standards," said one judge. In the end, said another, the team "created an opportunity for technological advancement."

The project also received attention from President Barack Obama, who visited the site in May 2012 to highlight the region's high-tech initiatives. "The reason I came here today is because this school and this community represent the future of our economy," the president said, according to press accounts.

NanoFab Xtension, Albany, N.Y.

Key Players

Owner Fuller Road Management Corp.

General Contractor M+W Group

Lead Designer CH2M Hill

Design Architect EYP Architecture & Engineering

Civil Engineer Creighton-Manning

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