Amherst College’s new Science Center will house the undergraduate science departments, including biology, chemistry, psychology, computer science, physics, and astronomy. Additionally the Science Center will house a library, Q Center, research and teaching laboratories, classrooms and lecture rooms, science shops, offices, and a greenhouse. The 230,000 SF facility, designed by Payette, is scheduled for completion in 2018.

Acentech’s work began with the conceptual design study, when our vibration consultants took measurements during train passages on a nearby rail line. Sensors were placed both at ground level and on nearby buildings, in order to predict the effect of the trains on sensitive campus spaces and equipment expected to be located within the facility. Acentech provided the design team with recommendations to isolate these sensitive spaces appropriately.

Acentech’s acoustics and AV consultants were brought into the project at the beginning of the design phase. The building will support a wide variety of spaces that require intelligent, scalable audiovisual systems that support modern collaborative teaching methods. The audiovisual design and subsequent engineering focuses each space in the building, including the atrium, teaching labs, group study rooms, lecture halls, and classrooms. In addition to digital signage throughout the building, room-specific systems will support ultra-high definition (UHD) signals, as well as “bring your own device” (BYOD) collaboration capabilities.

Acentech’s acoustics consultants are also leaving their mark on this innovative structure, providing advice and recommendations on spaces throughout the building. Teaching and research laboratories, classrooms, lecture hall, faculty offices, informal learning spaces, and general gathering spaces will all receive attention. Mechanical system noise and vibration control in the laboratories and vivarium are a special focus of the design, as these spaces are especially sensitive to disruption, therefore requiring specialized attenuation treatments.

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