St. Olaf College ~ Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences

Northfield, Minnesota

Project Description

Among liberal arts colleges, St. Olaf’s science program ranks as one of the nation’s best. To continue to turn out some of the brightest scientific minds, the college realized a need to replace its aging science facility. They brought Boldt on early in the design phase to collaborate with the architect, faculty and students to create this four-story, 200,000 sq. ft. interdisciplinary based complex to lead them into the 21st century. Boldt used its team of project managers, estimators, electrical and mechanical engineers and sustainable specialists to assist the project through design phase to evaluate cost, functionality and aesthetics.

The complex provides natural sciences and mathematics (biology, bimolecular science, biomedical studies, chemistry, physics, computer science, environmental science, mathematics, neuroscience, psychology and statistics). This includes:

  • 26 teaching labs

  • 17,000 sq. ft. of student-faculty research space

  • 7 tiered classrooms

  • 11 flat-floored classrooms

  • 8 seminar-style rooms

  • 5 dedicated computational rooms

  • 8,000 sq. ft. science library with technology-based information access and numerous individual and group-study spaces

  • 9 conference rooms

  • Greenhouse and observatory green roof

  • Informal gathering spaces designed to extend learning beyond the classroom and laboratory

  • Biology and chemistry share a large research area where they can collaborate on biochemistry or the biological makeup of cells

Sustainable Features

  • During site development, many timbers from the site were selected for harvesting and milled into useable wood on the project for tables and benches.

  • Concrete for the building included a minimum of 15 percent fly ash from regional power plants, diverting nearly 9 million pounds from landfills.

  • Regents Hall is 40 percent more efficient than that designed for standard energy code, saving enough energy to power 250 homes.

  • Electrical needs are being supplemented by the 1.65 MW Vistas wind turbine that Boldt erected on campus.

  • The copper roof is made from 90 percent recycled content

  • Innovative design credit for “green chemistry” that uses more water based and non-toxic experiments to reduce lab waste and reduces the number of fume hoods and cuts the amount of exhausted conditioned air in half.

  • A green roof planted with low-maintenance sedums, cacti, grasses and columbine helps reduce the building’s heating and cooling load and minimizes its heat signature. The green roof also reduces storm water runoff, filters carbon dioxide out of the air and filters pollutants out of rainwater.

  • Rain water from the rooftops is collected in a 3,000 gallon cistern that provides water for the greenhouse and roof plants.

  • Locally sourced natural materials were used on the exteriors and building materials were sourced based on recycled content and lifecycle costs.

  • A limestone exterior, some recycled from the building that previously occupied the site was used as an easily maintainable material.

  • Named Xcel Energy's 2009 Best Integrated Design in the Energy Design Assistance Program.

Learn more about our Integrated Lean Project Delivery capabilities, design/build capabilities or our sustainable efforts.


Holabird & Root

Boldt's Role

Design/Builder, Integrated Lean Project Delivery® Partner

Key Points

  • In keeping with the college’s sustainable mission, the building was designed and built following LEED® guidelines, earned 57 credits and was awarded LEED Platinum certification.
  • Regents Hall also is one of the first major science facilities in the nation designed with an emphasis on green chemistry, a growing movement that seeks to minimize the hazardous chemical waste and biological waste produced from laboratory experiments.
  • The college saved hundreds and thousands of dollars by trading off one type of green ceiling tile for another less costly product and created more sustainable features elsewhere in the project.“We can help an owner develop a cost/benefit understanding in sustainable construction, “said Eric Siebers, LEED AP, of Boldt. “As the designers put the building together on paper, Boldt collaborates to ensure that we can meet the sustainable goals of the facility and shepherd the design from the beginning.”
  • When the green team reviewed the project for LEED certification, they knew they had maximized energy savings and reviewed other areas in the structure for additional sustainable features. “You can’t just look at the complete picture and how all sustainable systems interact,” Siebers said. “We look at the whole and see where we can offset cost.”
  • Regents Hall is not simply a model for responsible environmental stewardship, but a daily working example of sustainability in practice.
Dave Van Wylen
“We are saving money because it is a more efficient process and we’re getting a better building.”
Integrated Lean Project Delivery