A renovation of Brace Labs is converting one of UNL’s oldest buildings into a center for innovative teaching.
The $8 million project will bring the 107-year-old building into compliance with modern building/accessibility codes, upgrade the heating/cooling system, and create teaching spaces that allow faculty to incorporate technology into classroom lessons.
“The renovation will include both the interior and exterior of the building,” said Chad Lea, lead project manager/designer for Facilities Management and Planning. “The goal is to have the building up and running for the fall 2014 semester.”
Construction of Brace Laboratory of Physics started in 1904 and was completed in 1906. It is named in honor of DeWitt Bristol Brace, a chair of physics who died of blood poisoning in October 1905. Brace was a leader in the planning/development of the physics building.
Brace Labs has not had permanent occupants since the Department of Physics and Astronomy moved to Jorgensen Hall in 2010.
The renovation includes the creation of three life sciences laboratories and lab support space; two Technology Transforming Teaching classrooms designed for education methods in the digital age; a video editing room; and offices, storage and conference room space for Information Technology Services currently located in the 501 Building and Architecture Hall.
“One of the primary goals of the project is to integrate the most current technology available,” Lea said. “Many of the classroom spaces are designed for the needs of the modern student.”
The existing auditorium within Brace Labs will be renovated into a general-purpose classroom with tiered seating. Other rooms will be converted into general-purpose classroom space.
The project also includes adding restrooms (as built, Brace only has two restrooms, one each on the first two floors); installing modern HVAC systems to replace existing radiators and window unit air conditioners; asbestos abatement; repairing and painting of walls; and repair/replacement of floors and ceilings.
Brace Labs is linked to Behlen Laboratory to the west. The project will secure the link between the two buildings, allowing plans to move forward to expand high security research in Behlen.
The primary goals of the Brace Labs renovation is to help UNL address enrollment growth goals through the addition of undergraduate, lower division life science labs and general-purpose classroom space.
A portion of the funding for the project was provided by the Nebraska Legislature.