The University of Missouri – St. Louis (UMSL) is a public research university located in St. Louis, Missouri. Established in 1963, it is the newest member of the University of Missouri System, which comprises four universities. UMSL’s campuses are situated across different areas of St. Louis.
This project involved a renovation and fit-out of approximately 14,000 square feet of existing shell space within the Patient Care Center on the UMSL campus to establish the new College of Optometry. The previous college was housed in an older building with unfavorable conditions, necessitating a move to a more modern and improved facility.
Located on the second floor of the Patient Care Center, the renovated space now accommodates various areas essential for optometry education. These include a pre-clinic, classrooms, conference areas, and lounge spaces dedicated to the optometry students. The proximity of the optometry clinic on the first floor allows for close collaboration and practical training opportunities.
Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Fire Protection
The project involved multiple aspects, including MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) services with fire protection specifications. To ensure separation and independent functionality from the medical offices below, a new HVAC system was installed, incorporating a separate air handler and zoning.
The HVAC system features a four-pipe air handler that utilizes heating water and chilled water systems, alongside a standalone energy recovery system. Downstream in the air handler, an a VAV box reheat system serves the designated spaces. The project adhered to the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code, demonstrating a commitment to energy efficiency.
Electrically, the infrastructure was already in place, with collaboration required for coordinating the owner-provided equipment for specific classroom functions and optometry education tools. While energy efficiency was important, staying within the predetermined project budget was a crucial consideration at each phase of the project.
The design approach did not emphasize any particular innovation but rather focused on fundamental components such as air handlers, energy recovery, and air-side systems. However, the lighting scope posed specific challenges.
The lighting scope for this project encompassed not only the selection and layout of light fixtures but also involved integrating the lighting controls with the building automation system. The overall focus of the project was to create an optimal learning environment with controlled lighting that caters to the individual needs of students while promoting energy efficiency and cost effectiveness.
To achieve the desired lighting control, the project incorporated a high-level and flexible control system. The building had an existing relay panel, which was integrated into the lighting system, enabling automation and programming for lower light output. LED lighting fixtures were employed throughout the facility to ensure energy efficiency.
One of the challenges faced during the project was the presence of extensive glazing in the facility. The design team aimed to balance the indoor and outdoor environment in the common areas while avoiding over lighting. Specific attention was given to the work surfaces to ensure appropriate lighting levels. Additionally, the team implemented zoning strategies to minimize energy wastage.
Occupancy sensors were utilized to coordinate lighting and HVAC systems, ensuring energy efficiency by automatically turning off lights and adjusting HVAC settings in unoccupied classrooms.
A specific focus was on the skill labs and breakout spaces within clinic classrooms. The main objectives were to ensure optimal light levels, reduce glare, and provide individual control to students over their own lighting settings. These spaces were equipped with individual controllers, allowing students to have different layers of control and customize the lighting based on their specific needs and educational requirements. There were four different scenes available in each skill lab to offer high flexibility in the learning environments.
Overall, this project aimed to create an enhanced facility for the UMSL College of Optometry, providing optimal learning environments and advanced resources while adhering to energy efficiency standards and budget requirements.