Walbridge served as construction manager-at-risk at the new Oakland University Engineering Center (OUEC).
Construction of the five-level, $57 million building began in January 2013. The 149,879-square-foot OUEC will provide modern instructional and research facilities for the university’s School of Engineering programs.
Its design and construction will make it a contender for LEED® Gold certification. The project scope also includes renovating 15,000 square feet of space being vacated by departments moving into the new OUEC.
The facility boasts a high bay capstone lab, cleanroom, full service machine shop, and rooftop energy lab where students conduct experiments on solar and wind generation. The lobby acts as student demonstration space and corridor windows offer clear views into the project labs, putting engineering on display. The design and planning of the building and high-bay labs allows for flexibility and expansion in order to support the future evolution of engineering research.
While smart and efficient, the sophisticated mechanical equipment installed with construction of the new OUEC creates humming and buzzing. To help prevent disruption, Walbridge installed floating floors inside the building’s mechanical penthouse to isolate vibration and noise. The roughly 450 auger cast piles that installed to construct the building’s foundation also allow for future expansion. Walbridge turned to electronic documents and building information modeling (BIM) to eliminate clashes and coordinate all the new systems.
The L-shaped concrete structure is five stories on one side and two stories on the other. Its striking curtain wall façade is complemented by metal and brick. Among Walbridge’s value-saving construction suggestions for the client was the use of standard structural steel instead of Fire-trol prefabricated fireproofed steel columns. The solution involved simulated steel column enclosures, just as effective of Fire-trol columns but for roughly $250,000 less.
During construction Walbridge maintained pedestrian and vehicular traffic around the site of the new OUEC, which is situated between three existing buildings in a heavily trafficked pedestrian area on campus. The first phase of the project (building the OUEC) was completed in just 20 months, in time for the start of the 2014 fall semester. For phase II of the job, Walbridge renovated 14,000 square feet inside three different buildings on campus. The work will bring new restrooms and updated classroom space.