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  Oak Ridge Associated University Office Building, Page 30Oak Ridge Associated University Office Building
516 Union Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37902

1635 Western Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37921

Oak Ridge, Tennessee
Total Square Feet: 57,777
Construction Period: Apr 2003 to May 2004

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Mallia Engineering Co., Inc. - 1827 White Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37916
ELECTRICAL ENGINEER: Kelso-Regen Associates, Inc. - 6709 Kingston Pike, #B, Knoxville, TN 37919
MECHANICAL ENGINEER: Vreeland Engineers, Inc. - PO Box 10648, Knoxville, TN 37939
COST ESTIMATOR: Denark Construction, Inc. - 1635 Western Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37921

Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) is a consortium of universities partnering with the U.S. Department of Energy and the national laboratories in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, including the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE), a DOE facility.

Their various programs were housed in multiple DOE facilities which were World War II era buildings that were extremely inefficient and costly to maintain. In addition, they were scattered around the city of Oak Ridge, with some programs located in three separate locations.

When ORAU made a decision to consolidate various programs onto its main campus, it turned to the experienced partnership of Partners Development, The Benefield Richters Company, and Denark Construction to develop a solution and provide a turnkey project.

Initial design began with developing a master plan for the main campus and a program for a new facility. The campus is tucked back off the main road, behind the City Municipal Building and the Museum of Science and Energy. Located in the center of the campus is an existing conferencing center, Pollard Hall, that is used by the community for art performances as well as educational seminars, lectures, and meetings. Behind and 15 feet below Pollard Hall is a small pond.

The primary goals of the master plan were to provide a more visible public image; to connect the new building to the existing Pollard Hall; to make the transition of almost 20 feet from the existing campus buildings to the new site; and to utilize the existing pond as a focal feature and an employee amenity for the new building.

As a result, the building was designed as three stories tall in order to be visible across the city park from the main road. In addition, the building became a transition element between the level of the existing campus, and that of the pond. This was accomplished by linking the expanded lobby of Pollard Hall and the second floor of the new building with a bridge and connecting corridor.

The exterior uses a combination of brick, precast stone, and glass storefront to echo the existing buildings on campus, while two colors of brick were used to reduce the scale of the building. Conference rooms, a break room, and a third floor terrace were located in a curved metal panel and glass wall enclosure to create focus on the adjacent pond.

The building was designed to house six different departments of ORAU, including core groups of IT and purchasing. During early stages of design, architects met with each of the groups in detail programming. Space needs and requirements were determined, as well as levels of security, working environments, and flexibility.

After considerable evaluation, an open office plan scheme was settled on that allowed for the maximum interaction and sharing between staff. A central two-story entry and core of circulation and support utilities was used to divide each floor into two, which provided the necessary separation and security between different program groups.

At the same time, the open space provided the necessary flexibility of space for the ever changing dynamics of research office space. A case in point is that just after construction started, one of the groups programmed to occupy the building was eliminated, and was replaced with another group. The space was redesigned and adapted as construction was proceeding.

During the design process the development team met regularly to evaluate costs, schedule, materials, and construction methods. The development team partnership facilitated the delivery of the project within the established budget.

DIV 04: Masonry: General Shale.
DIV 07: Membrane: Soprema; Metal: Dimensional Metals, Inc.; Insulation: Johns Manville.
DIV 09: Gypsum: National Gypsum; Carpet: Shaw; Vinyl: Armstrong.

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