August 28, 2003

Nanotechnology: Homeward Bound

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Duffield Hall, soon-to-be home of the nation’s oldest federally sponsored nanotechnology center, Cornell Nanofabrication Facility (CNF), is predicted to open to the public by this year’s commencement in May 2004.

“This has been a phased project,” said Brian Brown, Duffield Hall construction manager. The reason for the stages is to abide by the Knight Laboratory nanofabrication facility regulations. The Knight Lab must be demolished before another nanotechnology center is built in Duffield’s new space.

The project’s initial phase introduced the first floor: containing clean-rooms for the CNF. Amy Ritter, project manger, told The Sun in April, “The air in these rooms has been filtered leaving few particulants.” The clean air ensures that the environment is not contaminated by pollutants that could be disruptive to research. This stage began in June in 2001, finishing a week before the August 5 deadline.

Now all research equipment from the Knight Lab must be transported into Duffield by early November. Only then can destruction of the current Knight Lab commence.

Duffield Hall’s second phase, construction of the atrium, will begin as soon as the Knight Lab is destroyed. The space will connect Duffield, Philips, and Upson Halls, will house a dining facility with prepared foods and chairs for studying and socializing. Indoor bridges will connect the three engineering buildings.

“The second and third floors of Duffield will be flexible research space floors,” Brown said, that will be used by the Cornell Center for Materials Research and the Nanobiotechnology Center (NBTC).

“We are still figuring out who is going to be in what [research] space,” he said. The second floor should be completely usable by Sept. 15, even though “it looks as if it’s already done,” said Brown. Construction of the third floor will be over by Nov 1.

The engineering quad is also undergoing several renovations through the Pew Landscaping Project plan. The grassy space will be leveled and rocks and shrubbery will surround the new area, giving it a “‘gorgy’ appearance,” Brown said.

Since the quad space has been used as a clearing area for construction, “it will take time to establish grass there,” Brown said. The land will probably not be open to the public until spring 2004.

Brown continued: “We are hoping to hold commencement 2004 in tents on the new quad.”

Along with Duffield, workers have been working on Philips and Upson Halls. “Every place that Duffield touches was renovated this summer. In Philips it was the first three floors, and in Upson, floors one through five.”

All revamping of lecture halls and classrooms was completed on Tuesday, just in time for the start of fall semester.

Archived article by Jessica Liebman