Lawrence University ~ Molecular Science Hall

Appleton, Wisconsin

Project Description

The science hall is designed specifically to foster a culture in which teaching and research are closely intertwined. The scope of work for this project included demolition of an existing residence hall built in 1889 and razing the 100-year old Stephenson Hall to make room for the new three-story, 78,000 sq. ft. molecular science building.

Each level of the building contains areas for lounges, offices and seminar/lecture rooms. It is specifically designed for students working independently or in small groups. This facility includes:

Lower Level

  • NMR spectrometry instrument room
  • Dark room
  • Radioisotope wet labs
  • Analytical chemistry research laboratory
  • Computer imaging room
  • Radiation counting room
  • Scanning electron microscopy instrument room
  • Transmission electron microscopy instrument room
  • X-Ray diffraction Instrument room
  • Light microscopy room
  • Condensed matter physics laboratory

Second Floor

  • Cold room
  • Biochemistry equipment room
  • Gas chromatography and mass spectrometry
  • Laboratory support instrument room
  • Inorganic and organic chemistry faculty/student research laboratory
  • Physical chemistry/biochemistry research laboratory
  • Research laboratory instrument room
  • Chemistry commons and office suite

Third Floor

  • Animal physiology/animal behavior laboratory
  • Laboratory support instrument room
  • Insectary
  • Genetics/developmental biology laboratory
  • Histology preparation room
  • Tissue culture room
  • Sterile transfer room
  • Principles of biology/microbiology laboratory
  • Laboratory support instrument room
  • Molecular biotechnology laboratory
  • Live specimen light microscopy room

Design Features

  • The intrusion detection systems consist of cameras, position sensors at the doors, proximity sensor and/or card swipes and a reporting system to the main panel.
  • Uninterruptible power supply is a designated system within the building and was wired to an automatic switching system that switches to the emergency generator during a power outage. The systems that were sensitive to any power spikes were protected with individual battery backup systems and surge protectors for the minute of time that is required for the emergency generator system to take over the power supply.
  • Specialized storage areas were designed to handle flammable and corrosive chemical storage. Special cabinetry was installed to handle appropriate exhausting, fire and explosion containment. All laboratory spaces were built with fire containment walls to create a compartmentalized environment.

The building is a steel structure, made of precast concrete and utilizes Fond du Lac lannon stone that is used predominantly throughout the campus and metal panel exterior.

Additional work included a one million dollar site utility upgrade to the campus and a three-story, 30-foot glass atrium area connecting the new building to an existing science building.

Learn more about our work in the science and technology.


Ellenzweig Associates

Boldt Role

Construction Manager, General Contractor

Key Points

  • Boldt has been involved in numerous projects at Lawrence University since the mid-1960s. All projects on this 150-year old campus are constructed within limited confines and amid fully operational facilities. Campus traffic re-routing and special procedures for decreasing noise and interruption are necessary.
  • This was Lawrence’s second major building dedication in three years and completes the second phase of a three-part master plan dedicated to science education.