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Planning and design team describes potential visions for the Plant Science Building renovation

-Magdalen Lindeberg

At a SIPS-wide meeting held May 1, representatives from Payette, the planning and design firm working on the Plant Science renovation, provided an update on their needs assessment and planning process. Mindful of our unique needs and spaces, and the historic identity and character of the Plant Science Building,

Payette’s planning is guided by the following goals:

  • Design a high performance facility that aligns with the vision and mission of the school
  • Attract and retain the best students and scientists
  • Maximize information flow
  • Foster collaboration through strategic space adjacencies and interactive common space
  • Increase shared resources and flexible lab space

The redesign process presents several potential opportunities for re-envisioning how the building space is configured. Options include:

  • Organization by shared lab processes (e.g. wet chem/wet bio/computational)
  • Organization by research theme
  • Organization around shared core facilities

Design variables also include the relative placement and arrangement of research space, office space, and teaching facilities.

A question and answer period following the presentation, with much of the discussion focusing on biosafety concerns, the challenge of planning for future research needs, the need for improved air handling, and the yet-to-be-determined phases for construction.

The Payette representatives emphasized that they are most interested in gaining a comprehensive sense of the needs and variables so that ongoing planning proceeds with a minimum of unknown variables. Payette specializes in high-tech buildings, academic research, and healthcare facilities, with previous work at Cornell including an upgrade of Kimball Hall on the Engineering Quad. The time line for the Plant Science Building Needs Assessment and Space Plan Study has an expected completion date near the end of July.

Please relay any questions, thoughts, and concerns you may have to your section chair or to the members of the SIPS Building Committee. A video of the SIPS town hall can be found at

SIPS Building Committee

CALS Facilities

Project Manager

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