Architect appointed for Mueller and Whitmore Laboratories renovations

March 16, 2012

HERSHEY, Pa. – Penn State's Board of Trustees Friday (March 16) approved the appointment of Stantec, of Butler, Pa., as architects for renovations of the Mueller and Whitmore Laboratories on the University Park campus.

The Mueller and Whitmore Laboratories are adjacent to each other and located near the Pattee-Paterno Library between Curtin and Pollock roads. Mueller houses Penn State's Department of Biology -- the largest major in the Eberly College of Science -- and provides lab space for more than 8,000 students annually. Built in 1965, Mueller is now overcrowded, has original equipment at the end of its useful life cycle and lacks fundamental new facilities. Students with interests in medicine and other health fields, for example, must travel hours away to a community college to work in a gross anatomy lab.

The priority for the Mueller renovation will be to improve existing instructional biology labs and create on the first floor new undergraduate teaching labs for the base courses, which will include building-system upgrades. Anatomy and physiology teaching lab space will be relocated and expanded, and a new gross anatomy lab will be created to support biology and other science disciplines such as nursing and kinesiology.

Whitmore houses chemistry labs serving nearly 7,000 students annually. Built in 1953, Whitmore also lacks both the space and instrumentation to meet the needs of its current students. There are, for example, no fume hoods in the first-floor teaching laboratories. "A general chemistry lab experiment as common as dissolving copper in nitric acid cannot be safely done in our labs," said Joseph Keiler, director of general chemistry labs. "Typical general chemistry labs will have a bank of hoods, but we have none." The priority in Whitmore will be to renovate all undergraduate instructional labs and renew the building's utility infrastructure.

Stantec has proven expertise in designing state-of-the-art teaching labs that include the flexibility to remain cutting-edge for decades. They also have significant experience integrating complex networks of new mechanical systems into existing and occupied buildings without interrupting teaching and experimentation in science. This team will develop a schematic design, and the work will be phased and accomplished as funding is available for construction.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 16, 2012