August 27, 2002

Progress Evident On Duffield Hall

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As students return to Cornell, Duffield Hall, the future home of research and teaching facilities for nanotechnology, will have transformed the engineering quad considerably.

“What looked like half a building in May now looks like the massive structure that Duffield Hall will be. You can already see the shape and completeness of the building,” said Amy Ritter, project manager.

“The construction of Duffield Hall is generally going very well,” added Dusty Rhoads, principal project designer from the architectural firm Zimmer, Gunsul & Fasca.

The concrete structure for Duffield Hall was completed in July, a joint venture by McCarthy Builders and Welliver McGuire. Shortly thereafter, work began on the structural steel. The vaulted roof steel is now complete, allowing for the installation of the roofing system. Also, the structural steel of the cantilevered (overhanging) Colloquium Room, over the main entrance of Duffield Hall is finished. Exterior wall framing and sheathing is also visible and will be continuing, according to Ritter. The majority of the work is now focused within the building envelope where a significant amount of mechanical, electrical and plumbing work is being installed.

In addition, the concrete structure of the service area, located behind Phillips Hall, was completed in June. This facility will house the new loading dock, future nitrogen storage tanks, trash area and generator. Work will continue in this area for several months.

“The existing loading dock will continue to be used in the coming months while other work in this area is performed. The new back entrance stair and walkway to Phillips Hall is also now being used and the limited parking behind Phillips has been realigned,” Ritter said.

Due to implementation of some of the engineering quad redevelopments to accommodate the new building and improve the landscape, pedestrian traffic and accessibility along Kimble, Thurston, Bard and Hollister on the quad has been greatly restricted over the summer. This walkway reopened Friday.

“The contractors have tried to minimize the impact on the students. A great deal of energy has been put in to completing certain portions of the work by the fall, ” Ritter said.

But there is still much more work to be done. “The critical path is to construct the clean room on the first floor so Cornell’s Nanofabrication Facility (CNF) can begin moving to Duffield Hall in August 2003,” Ritter said. The project management team anticipates the move of CNF from its current home in Knight Laboratory to finish in three months.

After that, the old laboratory will be torn down in December 2003 to make way for the second phase of the project, an atrium connecting Duffield, Phillips and Upson Halls. According to Rhoads, the atrium will “give the engineering school a new heart, or social center, which can be used as a year round space that is pretty unique to the Cornell campus.”

Reacting to the new lab, Joyelle Lee ’02 said, “I think the construction of Duffield Hall is good for the university because it adds to the prestige of research being done here. But at the same time the construction takes away from the beauty of the Cornell campus.”

Duffield Hall will be used by various nanotechnology groups that currently work in separate parts of the campus. According to the Duffield website, “it will support research and instruction in electronic and photonic devices, microelectromechanical devices, advanced materials processing, and biotechnology devices.” Construction of Duffield Hall is scheduled to be complete by 2004.

Archived article by Joann Kang