Whittier work to expand research space

Nov 13th, 2008 | By | Category: November 13, 2008, Research

Along with the creation of the UNL Children’s Center, the renovations at 22nd and W streets will update the interior of the Whittier Building and linked HVAC system to create expanded space for campus research.

Work on the interior of the former middle school is currently in the demolition and remediation phase.

The project is slated for completion in January 2010.

The Whittier Building will be home to the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research and the Nebraska Transportation Center.

“We are cleaning out everything except the auditorium and gymnasium,” said Alan Wedige, project manager/designer for Facilities Planning and Construction. “Those areas will be left until we decide a use for the space.

“All existing mechanical, electrical and plumbing will be removed with new going in for a complete upgrade on the other spaces.”

Wedige said the project aims to save existing fixtures and rails to preserve the historical character of the building.

Limestone steps on the south entrance will be rebuilt. The entrance redesign includes the addition of lower level entries under the steps (similar to the Nebraska State Capitol entrances) that will provide access to an elevator.

The link between Whittier and the UNL Children’s Center (known currently as the Whittier North Annex) will feature an update of the building’s utility and maintenance systems. When complete, heating and cooling of both facilities will be controlled through a geothermal system, which will include a well field on the south side of facility.

“We believe this will be our first geothermal academic building,” said Wedige.

The project will follow “green-building” guidelines as outlined by the federal Leadership in Energy and Environment Designation program. Wedige said the university does not plan to petition for an official LEED designation.

“LEED designations are very expensive to pay for, generally on average of $100,000, from an administrative standpoint,” Wedige said. “We are making a conscious effort to follow the recognized LEED guidelines and standards. We will have the documentation. We just won’t be paying to get the LEED plaque.”

The project also includes the replacement of all windows and reconditioning of the exterior of the building.

“When we are finished, it will be back to its original condition on the exterior,” said Wedige. “And, the interior will provide updated space for university research projects.”

— Story Troy Fedderson, University Communications

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