Work Advances on UA Tucson's $107.5M Bioscience Building

Known as the Bioscience Research Laboratories, construction of the $107.5-million facility began in December 2015 and is expected to conclude in December of this year.

📅   Tue August 15, 2017 - West Edition #17
Chuck Harvey


A 150,200-sq.-ft. building designed to advance bioscience research is being constructed on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson.
(University of Arizona photo)
A 150,200-sq.-ft. building designed to advance bioscience research is being constructed on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson. (University of Arizona photo)
A 150,200-sq.-ft. building designed to advance bioscience research is being constructed on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson.
(University of Arizona photo) The building will provide research facilities to support interdisciplinary research in many health science disciplines.
(University of Arizona photo) Construction of the $107.5-million facility began in December 2015 and is expected to conclude in December of this year.
(University of Arizona photo) The project is moving along on schedule and at budget.
(University of Arizona photo) The bioscience building stands four stories tall and includes a basement.
(University of Arizona photo) Work on the new building required 17,500 cu. yds. of concrete and 1,431 tons of steel rebar. Dirt was brought in for building the base of the new structure.
(University of Arizona photo)

A 150,200-sq.-ft. building designed to advance bioscience research — including study of health, aging and disease at the molecular level — is being constructed on the campus of the University of Arizona in Tucson. The building will provide research facilities to support interdisciplinary research in many health science disciplines.

Known as the Bioscience Research Laboratories, construction of the $107.5-million facility began in December 2015 and is expected to conclude in December of this year. The project is moving along on schedule and at budget.

The new building is located at 1230 North Cherry Ave., adjacent to the Keating Bio5 and Medical Research buildings at the west end of the research complex, which is part of the University of Arizona's North Campus District.

The bioscience building stands four stories tall and includes a basement.

Architect for the project is Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects LLP of Portland, Ore., with Debra Johnson as project manager.

DPR Construction Inc. of Phoenix is prime contractor. On one of the company's other recent Arizona projects, a joint-venture was formed with Sundt Construction Co. of Tucson to construct a $306 million Banner University Medical Center Tucson Replacement Hospital.

The University of Arizona Bioscience Research Laboratories project has 50 subcontractors including JB Steel of Tucson. About 295 workers are on the job each day at the construction site.

Work on the new building required 17,500 cu. yds. of concrete and 1,431 tons of steel rebar. Dirt was brought in for building the base of the new structure.

Walls Up on New Building

Work on the building exterior envelope is under way and glass is installed. Crews are moving forward with installation of mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems on all levels of the building.

The air handler installation on the roof is complete. The basement lid received a waterproof coating and outdoor landscaping has begun.

Indoor sheetrock and panting have begun on the lower levels.

Installation of roofing is complete at the penthouse with fireproofing starting.

Installation of drywall on the first level has started with in-wall rough-in of utilities complete.

Interior framing and overhead utilities are progressing on the second, third and fourth levels. Installation of ceiling grid and painting continues in the basement.

Installation of brick masonry has started at the northeast elevation near the Medical Research Building.

Crews continue to install roofing. They also are installing bricks and parapets on the building exterior.

Interior work includes installation of aluminum frames, windows and doors.

The building will consist primarily of concrete, bricks and steel. The east face contains a large amount of glass.

The west face has limited glazing and the windows on that side have shading from the façade to mitigate afternoon sun.

Equipment on Site

Crews used two cranes during certain portions of the work that have now been completed. The contractor opted for two smaller tower cranes instead of bringing in one large tower crane.

“It is interesting to note that the BSRL project is a long, narrow building and is surrounded by streets and other buildings,” said Lorna Gray, facilities project manager of University of Arizona planning, design and construction.

“There is very little area to stage materials to be moved around. We elected to use two smaller cranes that could reach all areas of the building, instead of having one larger one. This had some economic benefit as well as increased crane projection and kept the cranes below the helicopter flight path for the adjacent hospital.”

On April 15, the last of the two cranes was removed from the site. During their time onsite, operators of the two cranes logged in about 4,500 work hours, lifting tens of thousands of loads as the building went up.

Building Will Serve Multiple Research Purposes

The Bioscience Research Laboratories building consists of labs, new research, clinical research facilities and imaging space on its four floors and basement. Offices also comprise part of the building.

The design of the Bioscience Research Laboratory was developed to provide both short- and long-term flexibility to help the university and the users keep pace with changing research programs and protocols. The top two floors of the building are designed as wet laboratory research areas, but can be flexibly interchanged with dry laboratory uses in increments of two principal investigator modules with minimal renovation and disruption to adjacent research activities.

The imaging facilities in the basement have been designed to include a total of six imaging suites, including two small animal MRIs and four suites available to support a range of potential human and large animal imaging modalities. In addition, space has been provided for high resolution ultrasound, optical scan, autoradiography and micro CT, PE and PET-CT imaging modalities.

The design supports the addition of large, complex equipment such as a cyclotron in the future. The new building also will contain a CLIA (Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments) genetics core facility and informatics. All facilities in the United States that perform laboratory testing on human specimens for health assessment or the diagnosis, prevention, or treatment of disease are regulated under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988.

The new building is designed with energy efficiency in mind.

“It is anticipated to be LEED silver certified,” Gray said.

Outside the new building, the landscape design will create an oasis-like courtyard for users and will integrate passive water harvesting to nourish desert trees and plants.

Project Impacts

Mabel St. east of Cherry Ave. will be closed for the duration of project. A plan is in place to maximize safety at the project site, while minimizing noise.

But as with any major project, noise and dust are factors.

The project is located in the University of Arizona Health Services Center, which is home to the colleges of pharmacy, medicine, nursing, public health and the Banner University Medical Center. Thousands of students, staff, faculty, patients and visitors are in the area each day.

Some are in cars, some are on bikes and some are pedestrians walking alongside and just outside the project site.

To further complicate matters, three other construction projects are under way in the same area.

Coordination and communication are considered key in making sure everyone is safe and that the project can proceed without causing too much disruption to nearby campus operations.

CEG