Science Building Enclosure Project

Rendering Daytime Close-up Rendering Main Space Rendering Glowing Walls Sketch of the Cafe
 

Science Building Courtyard Enclosure Project Introduction

The Science building, completed in 1968 and part of the original 37-acre campus, was constructed along with Robert F. Kennedy Hall and the Library, Science, and Humanities buildings. Although the Science building has received minor improvements over the years, we are now thrilled to share with you that the building will undergo infrastructure improvements designed to enhance the campus experience for everyone at Queensborough Community College.

The college was built to accommodate about 5,000 students. Today, it serves approximately 16,000 students, plus about 2,200 full-time and part-time employees. The proposed renovation will provide a new roof over the existing Science building courtyard and make better use of the courtyard space. The renovation will enrich campus life by providing a much-needed larger dining space for the college community, as well as an additional venue for college functions.

The Science Building Courtyard Enclosure Project is a two-phase project. The current first phase of the project includes a transparent roof over the courtyard but does not make it an interior space – the total enclosure of the courtyard will come with phase two. Phase one will also include improvements to the lobby and restrooms to the west of the courtyard which serve the two auditoriums and connect to the Medical Arts Building. A new elevator will improve access to the upper floors of the Science Building.

The (future) phase two project will make the courtyard area an indoor dining space by adding a wall and doors to the south side of the Science building, facing the quadrangle. The existing basement dining room will be a new kitchen and the first floor grille will become a new servery for the adjacent, fully-enclosed courtyard dining area.

We appreciate your patience and look forward, along with you, to the new Science building courtyard space!

Thank you,
Joe Cartolano, Chief Administrative Superintendent, Buildings & Grounds
Paul Tellers, Facilities Planning Director




Science Building Courtyard Enclosure Project Update (March 2014)

We appreciate your patience as progress continues on the Courtyard Enclosure Project.  This communication is an update on construction activities through the end of the term. 

Demolition in the vicinity of the men’s and women’s restrooms adjacent to the courtyard will be completed by the end of the week.  This work is being done from 5:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. 

Demolition in the courtyard itself will continue for about two more weeks.  The concrete floor of the courtyard is currently being removed.  To reduce the amount of noise associated with jackhammering, the contractor is saw-cutting the floor slab so that pieces can be more efficiently removed.  This work is being done during the hours of 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and on Sunday. 

Work on the new elevator will involve intermittent noise in the coming weeks. We appreciate your patience as an elevator pit is created and a section of floor slab is removed on each floor to create the shaft. This work will result in improved access to the upper floors of the Science Building.

Windows facing the courtyard on the second and third floors are being replaced.  The new windows will have insulating glass to separate the sounds of classroom activities from courtyard social activities.  The upgrades are being done during the hours of 3:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.  The process will take approximately two weeks.

The walls that were built inside the window facing the courtyard on the second and third floors have been painted as a dust control measure.  These walls block some of the noise of construction.  Additional insulation is being installed to the concrete structure surrounding the courtyard to help further dampen the sound.

Over the summer work will continue on electrical and mechanical upgrades, constructing the elevator shaft and pit, building new restrooms, installing new windows, pouring the concrete floor of the courtyard and beginning improvements on the courtyard roof.  We will provide information on these activities as details become available.

Benches have been installed in the Science Building second floor hallway to relieve student congestion.  We continue to add signs to assist in wayfinding around the construction site.

Please continue to direct your questions and comments to: ScienceBuildingProject@qcc.cuny.edu or 718-631-62311.

Joe Cartolano, Chief Administrative Superintendent, Buildings & Grounds
Paul Tellers, Facilities Planning Director




Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (2014):

Q: Barriers have been erected to block access to the courtyard and the Men’s and Women’s restrooms on the Medical Arts side of the courtyard. When will these spaces re-open?
A: The courtyard is scheduled to re-open in spring 2015 once the construction of the split-level courtyard floor and the structure of the transparent roof are completed. The Men’s and Women’s restrooms will also re-open in spring 2015. The restrooms will be completely renovated with new fixtures, lighting and finishes.

Q: Construction barriers block pedestrians from entering the Science Building through the courtyard. How will I find my way around?
A: Even though construction activities require changes in how people circulate through the Science Building, accessibility to all parts of the building and safe means of egress in the event of an emergency will be maintained at all times. Signs are being installed that will note the changes and direct people to their destinations.

Q: I understand that this project involves the removal of the courtyard floor slab, the removal of windows, and the erection of trusses over the courtyard. Won’t these activities create a lot of noise?
A: The College, the Construction Manager, and the Contractor have worked out a noise mitigation plan that requires high noise level construction activities to be done in the early morning before classes, and on weekends or holidays. The wall that has already been constructed inside the window walls facing the courtyard on the second and third floors serves as a sound and dust barrier between academic activities in the Science Building and construction activities in the courtyard.

Q: I have additional questions. Where can I go for more information?
A:  • Check back often for updates to this blog.
     • E-mail ScienceBuildingProject@qcc.cuny.edu
     • Call the QCC Science Building Project Hotline: (718) 281-5654
     • For emergencies call: (718) 631-6231

Q: I have additional questions. Where can I go for more information?
A: Please contact either:
Joe Cartolano, Chief Administrative Superintendent, Buildings & Grounds, jcartolano@qcc,cuny.edu
  or
Paul Tellers, Facilities Planning Director, ptellers@qcc.cuny.edu

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (2013):

Q: When will the project begin?
A: The contractor will mobilize on the site in November 2013.

Q: When will phase one of the project be completed?
A: The anticipated completion date is spring 2015.

Q: Will new windows be installed?
A: Windows on the second and third floors facing the courtyard will be replaced.

Q: Will the building remain weather-tight during the window upgrade phase?
A: Of course. Prior to the removal of the old windows, a new drywall/stud partition will be constructed about 3’ inside the building with a weather-proof membrane.

Q: Will the heating and cooling systems be affected?
A: Supplemental heating and cooling units will be installed to keep occupants comfortable at all times.

Q: How are safety concerns being addressed during construction?
A: The safety of our campus community is our top priority. All construction activities will be in strict compliance with federal, state, and local laws.

Q: What about materials abatement?
A: Abatement in offices will take place at a time when the building is unoccupied. Air-tight enclosures under negative pressure by a licensed contractor and under constant inspection will ensure the safety of our campus community. All abatement activities will be in strict compliance with federal, state, and local laws.

Q: How do I navigate through the Science Building during the construction?
A: There will be clearly marked passageways that will allow building occupants access to the corridor around the courtyard on the first floor and to the stairs of the upper floors. Safe means of egress will be continuous during construction. Any required changes to building circulation will be clearly marked with signs provided by the contractor.

Q: Will the Science building be closed during any phase of the project?
A: The courtyard will be off-limits during the entire upgrade period. There will be safe access to all other parts of the building except when those spaces are under construction. For example, the Men’s and Women’s first floor toilet rooms and the west lobby will be closed while they are being renovated.

Q: Will parking be affected?
A: The contractor will occupy part of Student Parking Lot #2 as a staging area for the duration of the project. Additional student parking is being made available in Lot #6.

Q: Will noise be a problem during the project? What can be done so that noise does not interrupt educational activities?
A: Barriers will be constructed to separate construction work from Science Building activities. These barriers will reduce day-to-day construction noise. Noisier activities will be relegated to and coordinated with Campus personnel to limit the project’s impact on Campus & educational activities.

Q: I have additional questions. Where can I go for more information?
A: Check back often for updates to this blog.

Q: Is there really a need for this project?
A: The College was built to accommodate about 5,000 students. Today, we have approximately 16,000 students, plus about 2,200 full-time and part-time employees. The need to expand dining facilities and food preparation capabilities is long overdue.

Currently, the only dining facilities we have are the Science Cafeteria and the Oakland dining room, and neither has adequate seating space nor the capacity/infrastructure to ‘cook’ food. All food preparation is done in the basement of the Student Union Building, and then transported in carts across the campus each day—in good weather and bad.

Additionally, the lack of proper cooking facilities limits prospective food service vendors from providing their services.

Q: Why not start the project after finals?
A: Starting in the fall allows the contractor to get early work done before winter weather begins. The early work also allows for material abatement in occupied spaces to be completed during the November break. The projected project duration is approximately 16 months, so work will be done over the course of a few semesters.

Q: Will new windows be installed?
A: Windows on the second and third floors facing the courtyard will be replaced in the summer of 2014.

Q: Will the new windows be operable?
A: No. Building Code requires that windows on certain floors have a 45-minute fire-rating. An operable window does not meet this safety standard.

Q: Will the new windows block noise from the courtyard?
A: Yes.  Existing windows are single panes of glass. The new windows will be double-pane with a vacuum between the two panes, thus providing a better sound barrier.

Q: If the new windows are not operable in offices facing the courtyard, how will room occupants control the temperature?
A: For comfort control issues related to heating or air-conditioning, a Work Order should be sent to Building & Grounds.

Q: Will internet access to classrooms be interrupted?
A: No.

Q: Will office conditions be improved after the project is completed?
A: Spaces affected by project work will be restored to their existing conditions or improved if repairs and new finishes are required.

Q: Will LED lighting be used in the courtyard?
A: There are seven different types of fixtures scheduled for the courtyard. The signature light fixture under the skylight is a metal halide pendant – the “Gem” fixture designed – by Architect Paul Andreu (photos below).
the “Gem” fixture designed – by Architect Paul Andreu the “Gem” fixture designed – by Architect Paul Andreu

Q: What is the lifespan of the Science Building with these improvements?
A: College and University buildings are designed to have 100-year lives but can be shorter or longer depending on maintenance.

Q: I have additional questions. Where can I go for more information?
A:  • Check back often for updates to this blog.
     • E-mail ScienceBuildingProject@qcc.cuny.edu
     • Call the QCC Science Building Project Hotline: (718) 281-5654
     • For emergencies call: (718) 631-6231