Rollover image to enlarge

Lafayette College - South College Residence Hall

Customer Testimonial 

2001 Excellence in Construction Award Winner

There were many challenges incorporated into this project. The challenges included renovating an early 19th century structure into a 21st century, state of the art, ADA compliant residence hall while students occupied half the building during the construction process. A 68,000 square foot 5 story coeducational residence hall housing 252 students, South College Hall was originally constructed in 1833-34 with wings added in 1869 and 1873, and had the center portion rebuilt in 1961-62.

The intent of the Architect was to promote individual and group interaction and a sense of community by creation of “living units”. These living units include common kitchen and living areas. In these areas, the architect inserted another degree of difficulty with several alternating angles, projections, and accent colors.

The premise of the alternating angles was to keep the perimeter walls as true ninety degree angles and essentially twist all other materials by fifteen degrees, including counter tops, knee walls, shelving units, soffits etc.

This project included removal of most interior materials and equipment. The construction included enlarged bedrooms, a new 10 stop elevator and tower, ADA accessibility, upgraded bathrooms, architectural trash enclosures, new electrical and lighting systems, finishes throughout, individualized HVAC control, window / security screens, improved ventilation, skylights, and mechanical housing mansard.

Several interior walls were established to remain and be joined with new walls. This approach impacted the fishing of wiring, selective demolition, and added attention to quality of new to existing transitions. This was initiated as part of our proposed value engineering.

The new HVAC system consists of individual fan coil units and thermostats. The heating portion is supplied by the campus steam plant and the cooling is serviced by a new chiller. A steel framed slate sheathed mansard was fabricated to house and conceal the mechanical chiller at the roof surface.

All controls and equipment panels can be electronically accessed through the campus central network system. The intricacy of this system allows plant operations to verify and monitor temperature changes, scheduled maintenance, transfer from cooling to heating etc, from a single computer.

A new electrical distribution and gear system was installed in the existing transformer location. A temporary power supply was extended from another building on campus in order to provide the required service for phasing. The new communication system has been compared to NASA and consists of networked fiber optic lines and IBM gold LAN intermediate wiring from the outlets in each student room to established data rooms. All fire alarm, security, and card reader equipment is centrally monitored by campus security.

This 17 month renovation project was Lafayette’s first construction endeavor where the students occupied a portion of the building while construction was being performed on the other portion. In April 2000 we began demolition of the first phase. During the phasing we kept utilities operational, met all security and fire requirements as the second point of egress was maintained through our construction area. Upon completion of the first phase in December 2000, we exchanged portions with the students and began demolition of the next phase. In August 2001 the two phases were connected together.

Miller, Miller, and McLachlan self performed approximately $650,000 (14%) of the work. The work included all the rough carpentry, security/insect screen installation, frames/doors/hardware installation, concrete work, and finish carpentry for this project.

A renovation of this extent creates new and unusual situations each day. Combined with the fact that we were literally sharing the project space with college students who expect their requests be met at all times. Our firm kept certain awareness of all student concerns adhering to their exam times, class schedules, and identified breaks. The slightest disruption could have caused a frustrating situation for the client. In addition, we maintained a sensitive level of communication and demands with all departments of College, including student residence, general maintenance, grounds, security, telecommunication, etc.

The entire project was completed in 17 months and in time for the students return from summer break.