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Florida State University
Pathogenic Microbiology Lab Renovation

The Pathogenic Microbiology Laboratory is a research lab designed to handle biological materials, including Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Salmonella. There were many design challenges as a result of the materials to be used within the lab. The lab equipment consisted of refrigerators, ultra-low freezers, incubators, bio-safety cabinets, fume hood, centrifuge, water purification systems, glass washer, and an autoclave. Each of these required a connection to mechanical systems, plumbing systems, electrical systems, or a combination of the three.


The project had many plumbing needs including domestic cold water supply, hot water supply and return, vacuum supply, air supply, deionized water supply and return, natural gas supply, and a CO2 tank system. Connections were made to existing utilities within the building for the new laboratory.


The existing building is sprinklered, so modifications were made to the existing sprinkler system to accommodate the new laboratory layout.


The project had many mechanical design challenges including accommodating the needs for the laboratory, while also correcting an existing ventilation issue within the building. By performing a pre-construction study, it was determined that there was a negative pressure issue on the floor level containing the new laboratory and that the existing outside air supply for that floor level was inadequate. As a result, a new outside air supply fan was incorporated into the project to address the existing issue. A high plume laboratory exhaust fan was provided on the roof that would operate full time to provide general exhaust for the labs while also exhausting the fume hood. The lab supply air and exhaust systems were designed to provide 10 air changes per hour during occupied hours and 5 air changes per hour during non-occupied hours. A laboratory control scheme was designed and implemented to monitor fume hood sash positions and other sensors within the lab to provide slightly negative pressure inside the lab relative to adjacent spaces.


The significant power requirements for the lab equipment provided a challenge, given the electrical system’s existing load. Proper engineering analysis were completed to verify the ability to add this equipment to the existing electrical system. Plans were also incorporated into the design and construction to provide back-up power to critical loads in the future, such as freezers that protect years of research and analysis. Lighting was designed and installed to meet IES recommendations for this space and emergency egress lighting was also provided within each lab. The project included a system of empty raceways to accommodate owner provided security and data network systems. The project also included the connection of new roof-top equipment to an existing lightning protection system in order to maintain the UL Master label for the building.

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