Marshall University

MarshallUniversity1Marshall University
Bio-Technology Building
Huntington, WV


The Marshall University Bio-Technology Building is located on the north side of the Marshall University campus in Huntington, West Virginia. The building consists of four floor levels with a bridge over 3rd Avenue to the existing Science Building. The project included a 300 seat auditorium, vivarium space including associated cagewash / sterilization support spaces. A significant portion of the building (approximately 50,000 sq. ft) was associated with different types of laboratories including general research, teaching laboratories as well as specialized research laboratories. The specialized research laboratories included laser equipment as well as electron microscopes. The facility included provisions to allow for the addition of BSL level 3 spaces. The building also included faculty and graduate assistant research office space.

SBM was responsible for a HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, Telecommunications and Fire Protection design and commissioning. During the commissioning process the systems were started up and tested. Not surprisingly, considering the complexity of the building, a number of problems were discovered. Examples of the problems discovered and how they were corrected are listed as follows:

  1. The high purity lab water piping system had a tendency to sometimes spring a leak whenever the system pumps started. The leak always occurred at the faucet compression fitting connection. This problem was diagnosed as a “water hammer” problem. The problem was corrected by installing soft start starters on the system pumps.
  2. The cooling towers for the chilled water system were shipped with the wrong motor pulleys and undersized hot water basin nozzles. The undersized nozzles was easy to diagnose because the cooling towers overflowed when balanced to the specified condenser water flow rate. The wrong motor pulleys were discovered when testing showed the motors were pulling significantly less than name plate amps. Both issues were resolved by parts and technicians provided by the cooling tower manufacturer.
  3. Of the many pieces of Laboratory equipment on the project, the casework contractor provided two biological safety cabinets that were not the correct style. All biological safety cabinets on the project were to be of the Class 2 Type A configuration. As such the ductwork systems for the biological safety cabinets were designed with a thimble style connection. In the two cases noted, Class 2 Type B2 configuration units were provided. These safety cabinets were not compatible with the ductwork system and were changed to the specified style.


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