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SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry - Baker Labratory



132,000 SF Phased Renovation of a former laboratory building (Baker Hall) to state of the art classroom, campus computing and conferencing facility for the SUNY College of Environmental Science & Forestry at Syracuse (CESF). Challenging aspects of this project included planning new program spaces within the confines of an existing out- dated c. 1958 laboratory building, abatement of hazardous materials, and phasing of renovation while occupied. Other challenges included the coordination of mechanical-electrical engineering systems, working in an around existing equipment and within an ongoing working environment, and staging on a tight site.


Value engineering and life cycle costing were key to the design process. The College provided a planning and coordination team with representatives form each division. They met biweekly (or more often when needed) with QPK and the State University Construction Fund (SUCF) to keep abreast of construction scheduling and phasing, and how they may affect ongoing research and educational programs.


The design complements the overall mission of the College. “CESF is the only institution in the United States with
a program which is focused largely on the study of natural resources and the environment”, according to Cornelius
B. Murphy, Jr., Ph.D., CESF President. This project integrates traditional and contemporary materials that highlight CESF’s focus on technology and mission to enhance the study of natural resources and the environment. A natural palette of materials was chosen to complement this mission. Baker Hall’s identity of high technology and engineering is reflected on the exterior with detailing of the atrium, HVAC towers, and facade elements by combining traditional and contemporary elements. Exhaust and supply air ductwork, incorporated into the design of the building exterior, are part of the new facade, and maximize both interior space and clearances.


The project provides the College with a Center for Engineering and Technology and a new home for the College’s Faculty of Environmental Resources and Forest Engineering. It includes two multi-media lecture halls, a smart classroom outfitted for computer use and distance learning, academic computing facilities and the analytical and technical services department previously missing from the campus. It also modernized facilities tailored to the needs of the Department of Material Science Testing including a modern dry kiln, a wood identification laboratory, shop facilities, and a laboratory that allows for humidity and moisture conditioning of wood samples.


The project is seeking LEED EB Silver Level certification and is participating in the new LEED online program. Many unique green features have been incorporated into the project including highly reflective roof membrane, state of the art heat recovery systems, recycled/sustainable materials and a photovoltaic array that provides a dual purpose of power generation and window shading.  


“ The work performed has been extensive and and quite complex. One of the complexities was the need to occupy half the building while it underwent a multi-phase reconstruction that stripped the building of its structural shell, reconfigured its spaces, and entirely replaced its infrastructure, exterior shell and finishes. This was done while keeping the existing program in operation with as few disturbances to the daily activities of the College as possible.”


Brian Boothroyd, Program Coordinator