Julia Broskey
Mechanical Option
Berks Campus Classroom and Lab Building
Reading, Pennsylvania
Student Biography
Building Statistics
Thesis Abstract
Technical Assignment
Thesis Research
Thesis Proposal
Final Report
Senior Thesis e-Studio


General Building Statistics


Building Name: Berks Campus Classroom and Lab Building

Location and Site: Penn State Berks Campus Reading, PA

Building Occupant Name: Penn State Berks Campus Students and Faculty

Occupancy or Function Types:  New Building: Group B - Business

Size: 62,188 sq.ft.

Number of stories above grade/Total Levels: 3/3

Project Team:

                Owner: The Pennsylvania State University Berks Campus

                General Contractor: Alvin H. Butz, Inc.

                Construction Cost Estimator: Becker & Frondorf

                Building Architect: RMJM Hiller


                                Structural: Greenman-Pedersen, Inc.

                                MEP: H.F. Lenz Company

                               Civil: Gannett Fleming Engineers

                               Lighting Consultant: Illumination Arts, LLC

                               Acoustical Consultant: Shen Milsom Wilke, Inc.

Dates of Construction: April 2010 - August/September 2011

Actual cost Information: With held at owners request

Project Delivery Method: Design-Bid-Build


Located on Penn State Berks Commonwealth Campus, Berks Classroom and Lab Building is a new construction building to be completed August/September 2011. The new facility is constructed using steel framing and is expected to be a LEED Silver certified building. The Berks Classroom and Lab Building is a 3 story building consisting of classroom and laboratory space for the Commonwealth Campus to utilize.

Major Model codes:


Historical Requirements: None

Building Enclosure:

Building Facades:

The building façade of the first floor is consists of two different types of façade, the first and closest to grade are Architectural precast concrete panels backed with an airspace rigid insulation air space and finally a masonry wall.   The second part of the first floor façade has an aluminum curtain wall system in place of the architectural precast concrete panels, the two airspaces and rigid insulation. Above the first floor the façade changes again to have an exterior finish of terracotta rain screen backed by rigid insulation backed by cold formed metal framing (CMFM).


The roof system consists of metal decking covered by rigid composite insulation and a Kee membrane. The roof system is sloped towards roof drains

Sustainability Features:

The Berks Classroom/Lab Building is designed to achieve a LEED Silver rating at completion. A key feature is a gray water system, this systems is used to supply the restrooms within the building with water for their water closets and urinals.

                The Berks Classroom and Lab building began construction in April 2010 and was to be completed August/September 2011. The building was in use when pictures were taken 17 September 2011 and after talking with a student that attends Berks Campus is closed during the weekend.         

The electrical system uses both 480/277V and 208/120V systems throughout the building.  The lighting system of the building is run on the 480/277V system and the plug loads are run using the 208/120V system. The plug loads must be put on the 120V system in order for the equipment to be used, which includes computers and other standard office and classroom equipment. The main distribution switchboard is a 35,000 amp service that supplies power to the other switchboards and panels throughout the building.
The lighting system consists of mostly linear T8 fluorescent luminaries with other fixtures including ones that utilize metal halide and LED. These luminaries are mostly run with a 277V electronic ballast with very few exceptions.

The mechanical system is a variable air volume system comprised of 3 electrical roof top units that supply air to the spaces via VAV boxes. The main units are supplemented by a computer room unit that provides cooling to the server room. The system also runs 4 split system air- conditioning units, one 1 ton unit and three 1.5 ton units.
The building also utilizes two 6.2 gallon boilers that supply hot water to the building. This system also contains 5 hot water pumps. Three of which supply water to the boiler with only 2 being considered duty pumps and 1 being a stand-by pump. The other two pumps supply water for the domestic hot water system and the VAV boxes only 1 of which is the duty pump the other being a stand-by pump.

The structural system is comprised of three different types of materials, cast-in-place concrete, structural steel and masonry. The building’s foundation uses a cast-in-place concrete slab on grade with pile caps and piers. Typically the building’s framing is steel and the floor construction is concrete with some thickened slabs where needed. The masonry is used in some wall construction.

Fire Protection:
                The building utilizes an active fire protection system. The entire building is protected by sprinklers.   

There are 3 staircases that access the floors but only 1 of which as a direct exit to the exterior of the building. In addition to the staircases there is an elevator that allows access to the upper floors.

                There are telecommunication jacks in all office, classroom and retail spaces within the building.  

Special Systems:

                The building utilizes a grey water system to supply water to the toilets and urinals in the building. This system collects rain water and puts it to use within the building before it ends up in a sewer system. The collection system can hold up to 70,000 gallons of water between the two holding tanks.