April 12, 2017

University of Rochester Embraces Design-Build for New Residence Hall

In 2015, to meet the growing need for student on-campus housing and address a lack of athletic support facilities on the University of Rochester's River Campus, University planners engaged Ayers Saint Gross, Architects and Planners to conceptualize a LEED-Silver-certified residence hall adjacent to Fauver Stadium. When the original design came in $4 MM over budget, the University of Rochester stepped back and decided to take a different approach. The U of R planners determined that a Design-Build strategy would give them the best chance at meeting their budget. During the interview phase the owners asked bidders to redesign the entire project to meet the budget. According to SWBR Project Architect Robert C. Fornataro, “It was quite a challenge, but we all worked together as a Design-Build team to design a viable solution that would meet the University’s budget and schedule, and it paid off.”

The U of R hired The Pike Company and SWBR Architects in June 2016 as the Design-Build team that would take the concept, which includes multiple sustainable building features, from the planning and design phase through construction completion by August 2017.  “The Pike/SWBR team was extremely excited to partner with the University of Rochester to deliver this exciting project in 30% less time that traditional project delivery systems, saving significant time and cost.” says Pat Rogers, Executive Vice President of The Pike Company. This experienced Design-Build team involved U of R planners, employees, and students to clearly understand customer needs, and took into consideration the unique requirements of a building that overlooks an athletic complex to create an environmentally efficient, aesthetically harmonious, and eminently functional residence hall that also accommodates the needs of the sports facility next door. Pike and SWBR employed Design-Build Best Practices, including senior leadership support, engaging key user group stakeholders to interface with the design team, and taking sustainability considerations into account during the design process to successfully address all stakeholder requirements and still meet the budget and schedule. True to plan, the Design-Build team is currently on track to deliver this LEED-Silver certified mixed-use building within budget and schedule, a testament to a great team working with a proven project delivery method.

Sustainability features incorporated into the design include:

  • 7% improved building performance in terms of energy costs over the baseline design, despite having a snowmelt system at the terrace level deck and at all entries (which eliminates the use of snowblowers and shoveling/salting)
  • 90% of wood on the job with be from FSC – sustainably managed forests
  • Materials used for the project will have 20% recycled content
  • Materials will come from within a 500-mile radius of the project location

The 7-story, 72,000 SF building features living space for 150 students on the upper 4 floors with double and single rooms, and community areas. Lounges on these levels will have ceiling-high windows to maximize sunlight. Academic and student life offices at the Courtyard level include offices and meeting rooms for study groups and workshops. Additional office space and meeting rooms will be available on this level to accommodate health services, career, academic, fellowship, and STEM advising. Having academic and student services located right in the residence hall will "help us support students in a way that is more integrated with their lifestyle, including offering evening and weekend hours for these offices,” Richard Feldman, Dean of the College notes.  “The addition of this residence hall will also help to free up space for upperclassmen in the housing system, enabling us to meet our goal of housing over 80 percent of our students on campus.”

Athletics program space includes locker rooms, and sports medicine and team rooms for both womens' and mens' outdoor athletics programs. “This new facility will more effectively support existing varsity program needs with adequate locker rooms, training rooms and an equipment-issue area commensurate with current standards for programs of our size and scope,” said George VanderZwaag, executive director of athletics and recreation. Sustainable features include water-efficient fixtures that are designed to reduce water usage by 45% and an energy system that will provide ample fresh air to the facility, in particular locker rooms and other athletic program areas.

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