SUNY New Paltz, Urbahn Architects and PC Construction Complete $13.5 million, 19,500-square-foot Engineering Innovation Hub

The new building is designed to meet LEED Silver environmental and sustainability standards
Friday, September 20, 2019 - 2:33 pm
The State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz, Urbahn Architects, and PC Construction have completed the new two-story, 19,500-square foot Engineering Innovation Hub (EIH) building. The new facility hosts SUNY New Paltz’s relatively new and highly popular bachelor’s degree program in mechanical engineering and houses innovative teaching and research lab spaces, as well as the school’s Hudson Valley Additive Manufacturing Center (HVAMC) focused on 3D printing technology. (Photo by Ola Wilk/Wilk Marketing Communications.)The State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz, Urbahn Architects, and PC Construction have completed the new two-story, 19,500-square foot Engineering Innovation Hub (EIH) building. The new facility hosts SUNY New Paltz’s relatively new and highly popular bachelor’s degree program in mechanical engineering and houses innovative teaching and research lab spaces, as well as the school’s Hudson Valley Additive Manufacturing Center (HVAMC) focused on 3D printing technology. (Photo by Ola Wilk/Wilk Marketing Communications.)

NEW PALTZ, N.Y. (September 19, 2019)The State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz, Urbahn Architects and PC Construction have completed the new Engineering Innovation Hub (EIH) building. This two-story, 19,500-square foot facility houses the college’s relatively new and highly popular bachelor’s degree program in mechanical engineering and includes innovative teaching and research lab spaces, as well as the school’s Hudson Valley Additive Manufacturing Center (HVAMC).

The new building was made possible by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s NYSUNY2020 Challenge Grant competition, in which SUNY New Paltz was awarded $10 million to support academic programs that translate directly into economic development in the state of New York. The college also received $1 million through the governor’s Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council’s annual Consolidated Funding Application.

“Today’s opening of the Engineering Innovation Hub at SUNY New Paltz is another great example of the growth of our high-tech sector in the mid-Hudson Valley that will result in jobs and economic expansions throughout the region,” said Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. “We will continue to partner with higher education institutions and industry leaders to bring these types of visions into reality to inspire New York’s newest generation of innovators.”

According to Urbahn Architects Principal-in-Charge Natale V. Barranco, AIA, LEED AP, “The $13.5 million, 19,500-square-foot Engineering Innovation Hub houses faculty research and teaching labs, and state-of-the-art 3D print prototyping labs to support the engineering program and the work of companies partnering with SUNY New Paltz and HVAMC. The building is designed to meet a LEED Silver sustainability certification.”

“The new Engineering Innovation Hub will support and diversify the college’s rapidly growing engineering programs, and foster collaboration between the college and local industry. The college extends its deepest thanks to Gov. Cuomo and his team for recognizing the value of this project and its educational and economic benefits for the Hudson Valley region. This investment is projected to yield a regional economic impact of more than $75 million, and about 195 jobs, over 10 years. We also thank the design team of Urbahn Architects, general contractor PC Construction, and other partners for their support that has allowed us to celebrate today’s ceremonial opening,” said SUNY New Paltz President Donald P. Christian.

“The Engineering Innovation Hub will significantly aid SUNY New Paltz in educating engineering students who will provide technological leadership in the Hudson Valley. It will also assist the wide variety of regional companies that make use of our state-of-the-art 3D printing technology and expert staff,” added Daniel Freedman, dean of the School of Science & Engineering and director of the HVAMC.

The Hudson Valley Additive Manufacturing Center, which has been providing education, guidance, CAD design, advice on materials used for additive manufacturing, and 3D printing services to SUNY New Paltz students and educators as well as to entrepreneurs and businesses since 2013, will operate a laboratory and offices in the new building. The HVAMC’s collection of 3D printers constitutes some of the most advanced technology at any academic laboratory in the United States. The college is the first institution of higher education in the nation to be designated a Stratasys-MakerBot Additive Research & Teaching or SMART lab by Stratasys, the world’s leading 3D printing hardware and systems company.

The Hub will also house the College’s popular new program in mechanical engineering, which has seen rapid enrollment growth since launching in 2014 in response to the critical need for highly skilled engineers in the Mid-Hudson Valley region.

The building, located within SUNY New Paltz’s main campus, was erected on a former parking lot near the existing engineering building, Resnick Hall. Urbahn has designed the Engineering Innovation Hub to allow for a potential expansion to the east, if the program’s growth requires more space in the future.

“The site of the new building is centrally located on campus, which required strict construction safety and logistics protocols to ensure the welfare of workers, students, faculty and visitors during construction,” said Michael Davies, PC Construction project manager. “Relying on our team’s expertise in LEED certification procedures and the Lean Construction method, we have delivered a highly sustainable and energy-efficient facility where engineering students can excel for years to come,” he added.

The Hub’s project team also includes mechanical and electrical engineer Vanderweil Engineers, plumbing engineer CSA Group, structural engineer Leslie E. Robertson Associates (LERA), LEED consultant YR&G, civil engineer BET Engineering Consultants, landscape designer Edgewater Design, lighting designer Lumen Architecture, and cost estimator Ellana Inc.

 Architectural description: Exterior

“The steel-frame building with spread footing and a slab-on-grade foundation was designed in a manner that eliminated the need for extensive and costly rock excavation that is typical for construction projects in the Catskill Mountains region,” explained Urbahn Architects’ Senior Associate Nandini Sengupta, LEED AP. “EIH’s ground floor lobby is wrapped in a glass storefront and glazed curtain wall systems to allow natural light into the area. The lobby serves as a collaborative study and social space with extensive whiteboard surfaces, where students can learn outside the classroom setting.”

“The highlight of the building’s architecture is a cubic form that perches over the entrance plaza. The textured, dark gray cube, with a luminous, bright red metal soffit above the entrance and a backdrop of lighter forms, announces the building as an important presence on the campus. It relates to neighboring buildings and opens up views to a quad, diagonally opposite to it,” said project designer and Associate Principal Ranabir Sengupta, AIA, LEED AP. The exterior walls feature a rainscreen system with high-performance concrete panels in two colors, light and dark gray. The light gray portions will be smooth, while the dark gray sections will feature textured panels. The rainscreen has a stud backup. 

Interiors: First floor

“The bright, open 661-square foot entrance lobby is intended as a collaborative space for students. It features cabinets for the display of 3D-printed artifacts. Counters with computer charging and data outlets, lounge-style seating, and whiteboards that allow students to study, work, and collaborate. The lobby also features a textured art wall invoking 3D-printed panels. The flooring consists of textured porcelain ceramic tile and the ceiling is gypsum board. The space features ring-like curvilinear LED ceiling light fixtures,” explained Urbahn Architects’ Construction Administrator Manuel Mateus.

This floor houses incidental seating niches within the hallways and along the windows, allowing students to work in informal ways. The niches integrate benches, data access and charging stations. The design of the large 1,900-square-foot teaching lab invokes industrial aesthetic. It features polished-concrete floors and painted steel columns, beams and a metal deck ceiling.

The HVAMC space that houses multiple 3D printers is located across the hallway from the large teaching lab and has the same finishes. Rounding out the first floor is an 850-square-foot machine shop; a post-processing shop for the finishing of 3D-printed objects; and support spaces, including offices, mechanical and electrical rooms, and public bathrooms. An elevator with an accompanying lobby connects the Hub’s two floors.

Second Floor

On the second floor, there is a smaller lounge/collaborative space at the end of the main corridor, which offers a working counter and comfortable deep, cushioned armchairs. There are also eight faculty offices, an open office space, a 300-square-foot conference room, three research/teaching labs and a 1,200-square-foot computer lab.

All of the collaborative spaces feature expanses of the university’s colors–blue and orange–as well as wood soffits and acoustical cloud ceilings to add warmth and texture to the spaces. Flooring is vinyl composition tile (VCT). The ceilings in the labs are exposed, with linear LED pendants illuminating these spaces.

SUNY New Paltz

Located in the scenic heart of the Hudson Valley, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, SUNY New Paltz is a highly selective college serving about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students. One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of undergraduate majors in business, liberal arts, sciences, engineering, fine and performing arts, and education. New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent-minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.

Urbahn Architects

Urbahn Architects is a full-service planning and design firm based in New York City. Since its founding in 1945, the firm has designed projects for organizations and institutions that operate in the education, science, residential, healthcare, justice, transportation and infrastructure sectors. Urbahn served as the architect for some of the nation’s most iconic structures, including the Vehicle Assembly Building and Launch Control at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, and the Fermi National Accelerator Lab in Batavia, Illinois. The annual value of Urbahn’s current domestic and international projects exceeds $500 million.

The firm’s recent higher education project portfolio includes the Lehman College School of Nursing Education, Research, and Practice Center in the Bronx, New York; Usha Martin University Master Plan in Ranchi, India; Columbia University Prentice Hall renovation in New York; and Farmingdale State College School of Business in Farmingdale, New York.

Urbahn’s other commercial and institutional work includes the $70 million Tides North multifamily residential development in Arverne, New York; New York City Hall Mayoral Offices and Emergency Situation Center, and Public Health Lab Redevelopment Master Plan in New York; Centro Medico Correccional in Bayamon, Puerto Rico; and Jersey City Municipal Services Complex, Jersey City, New Jersey.

PC Construction

PC Construction offers general contracting, construction management and design-build services to private and public clients across the country. The company manages projects along the East Coast and in the southeastern United States from its headquarters in Vermont and a network of locations in Georgia, Maine, New Hampshire, New York and North Carolina.

PC has partnered with many of the leading academic institutions throughout New England and New York to plan and build some of their most important and challenging projects. The firm’s recent higher education work includes the University of Vermont STEM Complex, the University of New Hampshire Wildcat Stadium, renovations to SUNY New Paltz’s Bevier Hall, and currently, the University of Vermont’s the new Multipurpose Center and Gutterson Field House project.