Monthly Archives: March 2012
In an interior courtyard appropriately named Darwin’s Garden, the University of North Florida today formally inaugurated its beautiful new state-of-the-art Biological Sciences Building.
As construction manager, Ajax Building Corporation was delighted to help dedicate the $39.4 million four-story facility, funded totally by Public Education Capital Outlay Funds.
The Biology Department is housed in the 116,500-square foot building. It includes 17 teaching labs and 28 faculty research labs for aquatics, virology, ecology, genetics, physiology, molecular biology and molecular cell biology as well as the Coastal Biology Flagship Program.
Ajax began construction in July 2010, a year after completing UNF’s award-winning College of Education and Human Services building, which achieved LEED Gold.
The Biological Sciences Building will house all six specialized educational programs within the Department of Biology, including the Coastal Biology Flagship Program.
“No other university in the country has all of these coastal habitats in such close proximity to its campus,” noted UNF President John Delaney.
“With this new innovative Biological Sciences Building, UNF’s geographic location and the current areas of faculty expertise, the Coastal Biology Flagship Program is well on its way to becoming a center of excellence in the study of coastal ecosystems,” he said.
Programs of study leading to medical and dental school, as well as other health professions are also housed in the Department of Biology, plus the new Medical Lab Sciences program.
Undergraduate research opportunities will be greatly expanded with the additional space afforded in these new facilities. A large proportion of undergraduates work in research labs before completion of their undergraduate degree.
The building has four lecture halls, one with 192 seats, a multi-purpose classroom with 48 seats and two multi-purpose 48-seat classrooms with an operable partition enabling them to be combined. The building also has 27 research labs, 17 teaching labs, 37 offices, office support/laboratory support space and a conference room on each floor.
The facility has several points of interests, including an interior courtyard with a green wall; Tree of Life conference room; greenhouse; aquatic teaching labs, a necropsy lab; saltwater storage and prep rooms.
The interior courtyard, named Darwin’s Garden, is planted in native Florida species and will be used as a living botany classes. Five green walls on which flowering vines are growing will provide natural shading to the building.
A first-floor conference room has the “Tree of Life” etched on the glass outside two sides and travels up three stories. It describes the relationship of all life on the planet based on DNA analyses. It also acts as a time capsule because relationships will change as more DNA data is collected.
Six thousand gallons of salt water, provided by and transported from Marineland, is stored and available for aquatic research and teaching labs as well as the greenhouse.
All furniture in these labs is stainless steel to prevent rusting where saltwater is used. A unique necropsy lab allows dissection of large marine animals, such as dolphins, sharks and manatees that are up to 10 feet long and weigh 2,000 pounds.
The greenhouse, located on the roof of the building, is fully automated and designed to hold plant collections for botany labs and experiments requiring natural light.
The full-spectrum glass on the greenhouse is special and allows all wavelengths of light through, including ultraviolet. Various light levels and temperatures can be maintained at all times.
Some of the 17 teaching labs are used for entry-level classes and are oriented around octagonal tables for group work, with prep rooms between labs, allowing the preparation of materials for continuous labs without disturbing active teaching.
Two specialized teaching and five research labs are designed for working with salt water and marine animals. Four research labs have specially designed thick concrete floors for use with special microscopes that can’t tolerate vibrations.
While Ajax was the construction management firm for the project, the building was designed by the Joint Venture of Perkins + Will and the firm of Harvard Jolly.
The facility continues to support the standing commitment and success to deliver new facilities on campus that meet all the requirements for being “green” and sustainable. Once certified later in 2012, this facility will be the seventh “green” building on campus since 2005.
The Coastal Biology Flagship Program at UNF was established in October 2006.
The university’s campus is uniquely situated near the Atlantic Ocean, the St. Johns River and the Intracoastal Waterway. All of these bodies of water and their associated coastal habitats lie within 15 miles of campus, allowing for a broad range of coastal ecosystems to be studied and researched, from oceanic and marine habitats to freshwater lakes and rivers.
Ajax Building Corporation was selected to be the construction manager for East Roswell Library Branch in Fulton County, Georgia. This 15,000 SF/$4.6 million library will be a great asset to the local community. Funded by a local bond referendum approved by Fulton County voters in 2008, Ajax will keep as much of the construction dollars in the community as possible. In addition, Ajax intends to include local schools, community centers and neighborhoods throughout the design, construction and opening of the library. This will be a state-of-the-art facility designed and constructed to meet the needs of citizens of East Roswell.
Derek Gamble, who was recently promoted to Vice President of Operations has been featured in the Atlanta Business Chronicle People in the News.
Under beautiful skies, students at Holy Comforter Episcopal School in Tallahassee trekked through the dirt March 5, and for the first time, stepped foot through the doors of what will soon be their STEM Building. Feeling the excitement, each left their own personal mark on the construction site and inscribed their names on the interior walls.
Signatures, hearts, Bible verses, bubble letters and precious tiny prints now adorn the walls. The names will forever be a part of this project, but will soon be covered with brick masonry as construction continues, anticipating an August grand opening of the state of the art center.
Ajax expects to complete the project in July. Read more about it here http://bit.ly/w8va6d
Congratulations to Derek Gamble for being named our new Vice President of Operations. We wish him well as he moves from Tallahassee to the Peach State to head up the Atlanta office — in addition to his other duties.
From the Peachtree Street address, Derek will be directly involved in every Ajax project in the Southeast, from pre-construction through closeout.
His experience in the industry spans 25 years and we’ve been lucky that the past 17 of those have been with Ajax. In that time, Derek has served as Project Manager, Project Engineer and Director of Operations on more than $1.5 billion in construction projects. These have ranged from university buildings, to healthcare facilities, to correctional and governmental complexes and K-12 campuses. In all, Derek has supervised 126 projects in Alabama, Florida and Georgia.
A graduate of Auburn University with a B.S. in Building Construction, Derek is OSHA certified and a LEED Accredited Professional BD+C and has overseen 13 LEED projects for Ajax.
“Derek’s deep insight of labor and material trends will help our team throughout the Southeast properly manage the subcontractor and procurement processes,” said Ajax President Bill Byrne. “His experience and second set of eyes will go a long way to ensure quality construction on every project, while ensuring that each is progressing within budget and on time.”
Those second set of eyes will be invaluable in Georgia, where Ajax recently was selected to manage construction of the new East Roswell Branch Library and is currently managing on-going projects for Georgia Tech, the Board of Regents, State Finance & Investment Commission and Technical College System.
Signatures, hearts, Bible verses, bubble letters and precious tiny prints now adorn the walls. Those names will forever be a part of this project, but will soon be covered with brick masonry as construction continues, anticipating an August grand opening of the state of the art center.
In its first open house in more than 20 years, Northwest Florida State College rolled out the welcome mat to the Niceville community in February to inaugurate the $25.5 million Student Services Center.
Ajax had recently completed the facility, designed to be a central hub for the 17,000 students and a centerpiece for community activities.
The three-story, 75,000 square foot facility features an energy-efficient, insulated, impact-resistant glass-wall facade to allow for an abundance of natural light while controlling energy use. For the first time, it offers all the services that a student needs in one location. These include advising, admissions, registration, financial aid, testing, veteran’s affairs, adult and continuing education and food services.
The new Leadership Institute is located on the third floor, and features several conference rooms and a large meeting space with an outside balcony overlooking the campus.
Next up for the Ajax team is the second phase of the project, which includes renovation of the 1970’s era 32,000 square-foot College Mall. It will expand the school’s bookstore, Career Resources Center and add new classroom and meeting space for student and college organizations. Covered walks and a landscaped courtyard will connect the two facilities when the project is complete later this year.
“This is not just a building, but a welcoming gathering place for student life and the community,” commented Ajax President Bill Byrne. “It is gratifying to see that students already are enjoying their new central hub and all that it has to offer. As we work to complete the final phase, the construction project continues to have a positive economic impact on the area by generating hundreds of jobs in the trades industry.”
Sam Marshall Architects designed the structure to meet or exceed State of Florida and National Energy Standards promising to increase energy savings, water efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions.