To transform St. Norbert College’s 100,000-sq-ft, 50-year-old science center into a state-of-the-art research and learning facility for the 21st century, all mechanical and electrical systems were completely replaced, the building shell was renovated to add daylighting and two wings totaling 60,000 sq ft were added.
The updated design helps break down barriers between professors, students and scientific disciplines and promotes learning by combining lectures and labs to support student activity, interaction and teamwork.

The construction team had to keep the facility active and occupied throughout construction while updating the entire building envelope. Floor-by-floor phasing would have been easiest for construction, but a vertical solution was chosen instead to allow for vertical glazing patterns; maintaining existing building systems during construction; and building access and safety of the students, project team members say.

Preservation of existing historic materials was a priority, so the project team worked with the design team to place window openings in optimal locations to preserve the brick. The removal of brick for new window placement had to be planned to allow for preservation of existing brick where possible. As a result, 100% of the brick surfaces remaining after construction are existing brick materials.

Existing conditions limited space for mechanical and electrical systems to less than 2 ft in many areas. To coordinate these systems, the project team developed an integrated 3D model of all mechanical, electrical and structural systems. This model revealed over 10,000 coordination problems, which were worked through before fabrication and construction, significantly reducing costly rework and delays. As a result, the project was delivered more than $3 million below the original budget and all of the critical phasing dates were met. 

St. Norbert College, Gehl-Mulva Science Center / Medical College of Wisconsin (Phase I)
De Pere, Wis.

Key Players

Owner St. Norbert College

Lead Design Firm Performa Inc.

Contractor Miron Construction Co.

Structural Engineer Performa Inc.

Civil Engineer Raasch Associates Inc.

MEP Engineer Performa Inc.

Commissioning Sustainable Engineering Group LLC