About the Science Center

Exterior design

  • Architecturally, the Science Center blends traditional and modern design elements. Much of the façade of the original 1925 Science Building was preserved and can be seen flanking the expansive atrium and behind the glass along its back wall. The Dana Wing, built in 1965, was replaced with a new stone section that connects the renovated original building to a new addition that stretches north toward Campus Road. A more modern zinc-coated copper surface was chosen for the addition that features floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the ravine and provide a clear view of the Mohawk Valley.
  • Some 622 tons of Pennsylvania sandstone were used to complement the original Science Building since Herkimer dolomite, used in many of the older stone buildings on the north campus, is no longer available in large quantities.
  • Like stone, slate used on the roof is a natural product with high longevity. The light-colored roof surface reflects heat gain.
  • The large windows, sky roofing and other strategically placed glass maximize day lighting.


Interior design

  • Teaching labs located on one side of the hallway, with research labs on the other. This "community" organization allows for efficient access to lab and support areas.
  • Support and equipment rooms positioned in the center of the building, making labs quieter while maintaining accessibility from teaching and research labs. This also allows for more efficient air handling.
  • Ample windows that create an "open approach," making science activities visible from hallways. Those passing by the electron microscopy suite, for example, can watch a monitor that displays real-time research happening in the lab.
  • Wireless computer capability -- plus more than 1,300 wired network jacks -- throughout the building.
  • Suspended "atriette" stairways that provide vertical connections between disciplines. The open design of the north and south end stairways creates an integrated feel that strengthens interdisciplinary work within the sciences.
  • Study and common rooms, hallway seating areas, the atrium and a café which give students space to work independently, collaborate and relax.


Going 'Green'

  • With its geothermal loop system, the atrium is a showcase for sustainable construction design. During the winter months, the earth is used as a heat source. Cold liquid is piped below ground extracting heat from the earth. The warm liquid is then piped to the surface where the geothermal heat pump transfers the heat from the liquid to the air circulating in the atrium. The cooled liquid is then returned to the earth to collect more heat. In the summer, the geothermal system reverses, using the earth as a heat sink.
  • In addition, a displacement ventilation system allows supply air to enter the atrium at floor level at a temperature slightly lower than the desired room temperature. The cooler supply air displaces the warmer room air creating the desired temperature.
  • The atrium's roof overhang helps control the solar heat gain in response to seasonal changes of the sun -- in winter when the angle of the sun is low, it allows direct solar radiation; in summer, most is blocked. The greenhouse effect is also incorporated as radiation passes through the glass and heats the inside. Reradiated energy cannot exit through the glass, trapping it inside. The atrium's double-glass façade allows convection currents to help insulate the space from outside temperatures.
  • Throughout the building, heat recovery systems allow air from laboratory fume hoods to be ejected from the building. As warm air passes through heat recovery units, it transfers thermal energy to fluid located inside coils. The warm fluid travels to another set of coils where fresh cool air enters the building. When the cool outside air enters the coil, it is warmed.
  • All casework, laboratory furniture and millwork is made of wood harvested from certified forests in accordance with principles of the Forest Stewardship Council, a non-profit organization that encourages responsible management of the world's forests.
  • Occupancy sensors in laboratories reduce lighting and air flow demands. When wet labs are unoccupied, the number of air exchanges is reduced to 40 percent of normal level.
  • Recycled materials can be found throughout from recessed entry mats made from recycled tires, to steel and sheet metal with 85-90 percent recycled content, to chairs made from discarded seatbelts.

Contact Information

Stacey Himmelberger

Editor, Hamilton Alumni Review
198 College Hill Road
Clinton, NY 13323
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