ODU Chemistry Building

Norfolk, Va.

Award of Merit


OWNER: Old Dominion University


CM AT-RISK: W.M. Jordan Co.


STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Lynch Mykins Structural Engineers PC

SUBCONTRACTORS: Astro-Tec Manufacturing (Planetarium Dome); Burgess Snyder Industries (Glazing); JRC Mechanical; L.E. Ballance Electrical Service Inc.; Masonomics (Masonry/Brickwork); New England Laboratory Casework Co. (Lab Casework)

The $60.2-million building consolidates ODU’s chemistry, biochemistry and biology instruction and research. Classes that had been held at nearly 30 different locations across campus now take place in a four-story, 110,500-sq-ft facility. Expansive interior windows allow students to observe research and experiments throughout the building. A 122-seat planetarium/digital theater doubles as a lecture hall and seminar venue and features a high-resolution, dual-laser projection system that projects images on a 49-ft-high dome. 

BIM helped design and accurately place 17 miles of mechanical and plumbing piping, more than 100 fume exhaust hoods, extensive ventilation ductwork and specialized laboratory equipment. Pandemic-related supply chain disruptions forced the team to adjust work, building the labs out of sequence. An enhanced QC process helped crews verify installation and immediately correct deficiencies. As part of the project, ODU’s central utility plant was expanded to more efficiently serve multiple campus buildings. The team replaced three chilled water pumps and three condenser loop pumps with a 1,200-ton chiller and a fourth cooling tower to increase the plant’s capacity. Laser-scanned models of the building interior facilitated precision fabrication of an innovative polypropylene piping network to support the upgrade. The approach helped compress the four-month installation schedule to just five weeks, allowing the upgrade to be completed during the school’s winter break.