A Building with Smarts
New Knowledge Center to Raise IQs at UNR
The $75.3 million Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center is currently under construction along with the Joe Crowley Student Union as part of a new quadrangle at the University of Nevada, Reno campus.
The 295,000-sq-ft Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center under construction since March 2006 at the University of Reno nearly doubles the size of the campus’ 177,000-sq-ft Getchell Library, built in predigital 1962.
“In a tight staging area, project leaders are managing crews of roughly 250 craftspeople daily with an excellent safety result and staying on schedule and on budget,” Kretzschmar says
More than that, the new five-story building multiplies the old facility’s smarts to meet the learning and research needs of students and faculty in the information age.
The $75.3 million brick building, which neatly balances the architecture of the historic traditional south campus with that of the more modern north campus, should be complete by June. The now 250-acre campus began as a small cluster of buildings embracing a quadrangle -modeled after Thomas Jefferson’s design for the University of Virginia.
The new building is named for two benefactors, Chuck and Ann Mathewson and International Game Technology. It will be one of the nation’s most technologically advanced centers, with state-of-the-art computing and information technologies and multimedia tools, one million books and 15,000 electronic journals as well as hard-wired and wireless connectivity.
The construction team is led by Sparks, Nev.-based Q&D Construction, which also performed site and concrete work.
“Conceptually, the Knowledge Center was envisioned from the outset as being something distinct from a library,” says Steven D. Zink, Ph.D., vice president of information technology and dean of the University Libraries. “Indeed, the facility is a great deal more. It is one of the first facilities in the nation built specifically to embrace the new dynamics of the 21st century.”
Zink explains that the Knowledge Center will centralize all facets in a synergistic complex. “Computing and information technologies will be combined with the latest in graphical design technologies and the resources of the university library in a physical environment designed to maximize learning and the exchange
of ideas,” he adds.
Designed by Hershenow & Klippenstein of Reno and Dekker/Perich/Sabatini of Las Vegas, the Knowledge Center combines computer-equipped, individual-study and study-group areas; a tower reading room; training and recording facilities; and an 180-200 seat auditorium for cultural events, lectures and entertainment - all centered by a four-story light-suffusing atrium.
Supplying the full resources of the library is the three-story Automated Storage and Retrieval System, a robotic system allowing up to four times as many books to be stored than traditional shelving.
With the capacity to house an estimated 500,000 older volumes and special materials such as manuscripts, the ASRS allows the library to grow for 20 years without additional physical space, says Jeffrey Fleming, AIA, principal of DPS. “The design of this component was highly technical from both a planning and a structural standpoint,” he adds.
Because of the extraordinary weight of this many books, the ASRS required the largest continuous concrete pour in northern Nevada history - 12 million lbs of concrete by the Q&D team - equal to 11 mi. of 4-ft-wide sidewalk.
“Although the slab had varying depths throughout, our craftsmen achieved a consistent floor finish,” says Q&D’s building vice president, Tim Kretzschmar. “It was such a big feat that we threw a brunch party for the craftsmen working through the night.”
He and Fleming say they are particularly impressed with the multi-story, light-filled atrium. The area is approximately 60 by 90 ft with tile flooring, carpeted lounge clusters with comfortable furniture, special lighting and an open grand staircase leading to third, fourth and fifth floors.
Because the building is immense, it wasn’t an easy task to provide daylight to the interior of the building, says Fleming.
“Not only does this [glasswork] flood the interior with light, but it provides excellent orientation cues for building users,” he adds.
Complementing all of this daylighting is a progressive controlled-lighting and window-shades system.
“You’ll look up 77 ft to find the ceiling and you’ll be surrounded by a volume of 442,800 cu ft,” Kretzschmar says. “The library staff tells me it’s enough to hold six billion jelly beans. Personally, I think it will hold lots of social interaction. This will be the see and be-seen place on campus with rows of balconies lining the atrium.”
This spring, the Q&D team also completed a 620-yd concrete pour from 60 ft in the air to construct the concrete beam bridging the massive entry columns. The beam is 150 ft long, 15 ft tall, and 5 ft, 8 in. wide.
More than 400 Reno-area workers will have helped produce the building when it opens for the fall 2008 semester.
Owner: University of Nevada, Reno
Architect: Hershenow + Klippenstein Architects; Dekker/Perich/Sabatini
General Contractor: Q&D Construction
Structural Engineer: Hyytinen Engineering
Civil Engineer: Odyssey Engineering
Steel: Martin Iron Works; Northern Nevada Rebar
Masonry: Brucssa Masonry
Electrical: Nelson Electric Co.
Mechanical: RHP Mechanical Systems; JW McClenahan Co.
To learn more about this project, visit www.knowledgecenter.unr.edu
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