Building Statistics

Building Name:  Slippery Rock University Student Union

Location and site: Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania

Occupancy type:  Student Center 

Size:  105,000 SF

Number of Stories:  3 Floors

Cost Information:  Confidential

Project Delivery Method:  Design-Bid-Build


Major Players: 

Owner:  Slippery Rock University

General Contractor:  Mascaro Construction

Architects:  DRS Architects

MEP Engineers:  CJL Engineering

HVAC Contractor:  Renick Brothers


Dates of Construction:

Begin: July 15, 2010

Finish: November 28, 2011



Architecture/Building Enclosure:

Designed to achieve LEED Silver rating.  The building is surrounded by a brick façade, glass curtain walls and composite stone wall panels.  It is designed to integrate sustainability with architecture and the surroundings to invoke a natural feeling when inside and outside the building.  The large glass panels allow this sensation to occur by the mass amount of daylighting that is present in every applicable room.  The building enclosure consists of brick and prefabricated curtain wall panels.  Large glass curtain walls are also present on a large portion of the southern façade, incorporating daylighting. 



Zoning Chapter of Borough of Slippery Rock

Subdivision and Land Development Chapter of Borough of Slippery Rock


Sustainability Features:

The Slippery Rock University Student Union Building strives to achieve LEED Silver rating.  Through various active and passive systems, the building will have the capacity to lower its energy and natural resource consumption.   By incorporating natural day lighting, the building is able to conserve energy on both lighting the spaces along with cutting out the lighting heat load.  This was possible by close planning and coordination between the design engineers and architects.  When daylighting is unavailable, LED and CFL luminaire configurations are used to further reduce energy consumption.  The heating and cooling will be provided through a water source heat transfer system circulating throughout the 5 separate energy recovery units.  Due to the nature of the building, simultaneous heating and cooling will occur allowing heat recovery between different zones to be utilized.  The AHUs will also be equipped with energy recovery wheels and VAVs to reduce energy usage at low loads.


























The 15kV electrical utility line comes in to a new electrical manhole from the southern side of the building.  It then runs beneath the building to the northern side where there is a concrete electrical equipment pad to house a generator and a transformer.  It contains a 1500 kVA transformer with 15kV primary stepped down to a 480/277 V, 3 Phase, 4W secondary along with a 200 kW generator in a weatherproof enclosure.  Both connected to the main electrical room located on the first floor which is then used to supply the building with power. 



The building incorporates daylighting along most of the southern façade and wherever possible using shades to avoid excessive glare.  Automatic controls with manual override are used to allow for occupants to control the amount and intensity of light in each space.  The system is equipped with dimmers to allow less energy consumption when lighting load is low.  The controls can also be programmed such that they change based on the time of day and hours of occupancy.  Compact fluorescent lights and LEDs are used rather than conventional incandescent lights to conserve energy.  The fixtures are high efficiency with high power factor electronic ballasts. 



The building contract was design-bid-build, however, it was not awarded to the lowest bidder.  The Mascaro Construction Company was awarded the contract because of their Minority Business Enterprise and Women’s Business Enterprise (MBE/WBE) participation.  The building construction uses deep foundations due to the instability in the surrounding soil.  Caisson piers are used, sized as large as 72 inches in diameter and 22 feet deep.  The dirt is removed then a hollow form is placed in the hole.  The rebar is dropped into place then filled with concrete.  These are used to prevent vertical movement in the building which causes cracks as differential soil settling occurs.  Specialty contractors will be used for construction of the custom fireplace, green roof, and a custom designed fountain. 



The foundation consists of caisson piers up to 22 feet deep with a 16 inch slab on grade.  The north facing walls are concrete load bearing to support the green roof.  The main structure of the building contains a steel column and beam system.  The columns typically run 16 feet on center north to south with small variations and roughly 24 feet on center east to west also with a few bay variations to accommodate the ballroom and theater.  Web joists 16 inches on center run east to west support the theater. 



Dual 600 copper cable telecommunications and data lines run to an existing manhole.  A new telecommunications line then runs from the existing manhole into the eastern side of the building where it ties into the electrical and IT room.  The other existing line then runs into the western side of the building. 


Fire Protection:

The building is equipped with ADA compliant audio and visual alarms where necessary.  The building has motorized doors connected to the fire alarm system and will open upon a signal from the smoke evacuation system.  When the smoke evacuation system is implemented, a 75,000 cfm exhaust fan located in the atrium will turn on.  The doors and windows in the atrium will simultaneously open and allow for the exhaust fan to pull air in and take out the smoke through the roof.  



The building can be accessed by its main means of entrance and egress located on the south west side of the building.  Upon entering the atrium, a main and centralized staircase is present which enables you to access the floors above.  There is another entrance on the south east side of the building.  A staircase is located directly next to the vestibule that can also take the person to the remaining floors of the building.  A third and final vestibule is located on the north east corner of the building giving access to the bookstore.  On the roof of the building, a catwalk leading off the building is located as an added architectural feature along with providing another means of egress. 

Note: While great efforts have been taken to provide accurate and complete information on the pages of CPEP, please be aware that the information contained herewith is considered a work‐in-progress for this thesis project. Modifications and changes related to the original building designs and construction methodologies for this senior thesis project are solely the interpretation of Gary Haffely. Changes and discrepancies in no way imply that the original design contained errors or was flawed. Differing assumptions, code references, requirements, and methodologies have been incorporated into this thesis project; therefore, investigation results may vary from the original design.

This page was last updated on 12/1/10, by Gary Haffely and is hosted by the AE Department ©2010”

     Contact Me

Gary Haffely   Mechanical Option


Slippery Rock University Student Union

Slippery Rock, Pa


The mechanical system is comprised of five energy recovery units that are used to serve ventilation air to all the occupiable spaces in the building.  These energy recovery units provide the building with 100 percent outdoor air.  They use energy wheels to transfer exhaust energy to the incoming outdoor air.  Due to the nature of the building, simultaneous heating and cooling occurs year round so a hot water heat transfer system is utilized to avoid auxiliary energy use.  These units are also equipped with variable volume drives to conserve energy output when heating and cooling loads are low.  There are three 24,000 cfm ERU’s and two 16,000 cfm ERU’s, which are sized such that they can supply the entire building with proper ventilation and can meet the peak heating and cooling loads. 


The building also uses three make-up air units to provide proper ventilation in the kitchen area, where there are large exhaust fans.  The make-up air units also provide the space with 100 percent outdoor air.  There is also a ductless split-system which serves the IT and electrical rooms, which generate a lot of heat due to all of the electrical equipment.  It is sized to provide 18,000 btu/hr of cooling.