New Center for Environmental Life Sciences

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My Role: Project Manager – Involved in the project from concept design through construction.

Owner: Montclair State University

Architect: The SLAM Collaborative

Contractor: Terminal Construction

About the Project:

The new “Center for Environmental & Life Sciences” (CELS) project will include construction of 107,500 gross square feet of new academic and research space and associated site development on the site of McEachern Hall, located along the eastern ridgeline of MSU’s upper campus.


The Architect for this project is S/L/A/M Architects & Engineers P.C. The building was designed to achieve LEED Silver Enhanced Commissioning Certification based on the latest version of LEED New Construction.  Enhanced Commissioning is one of the LEED points to be achieved.

The new CELS facility is a four-story Spanish-Mission style building (with a mechanical penthouse) with a gross area of 107,500 SF with roughly 58,000 SF of teaching laboratories, research laboratories, classrooms and office space.

The building superstructure is comprised of steel framing on concrete footings and foundations. The exterior finishes include the University’s signature white stucco and clay tile roof.

A 2-Story atrium consists of three over-sized arched windows opens to a new patio facing the east-ridge with views of New York City. There is an East-facing green roof located on the third level.


Building Program:

The CELS program identifies approximately 57,000 Net Square Feet of new space and is organized into four specific functional space categories:

Office:  departmental hub, private offices for all FT faculty offices, open offices for graduate students, adjuncts, visiting professors and technical staff.

Instructional:  departmental and CSAM assigned teaching labs, classrooms and support (i.e. prep / storage).

Research:  shared and dedicated research space, including both traditional “wet” and dry labs, to support computational and equipment-intensive activities.

Other:  includes common spaces such as multipurpose rooms, lobbies, lounges and support.

The CELS building will be focused on trans-disciplinary research.  Key components of the proposed CELS program include:

  • Trans-disciplinary research lab group suites (accommodating as many as 148 faculty and students)
  • 6 core research labs, accommodating as many as 44 faculty and students
  • 150-seat lecture hall
  • Earth & Environmental Studies Department
  • 4 institutes & centers office suites (+ 1 lab group)
  • College of Science and Mathematics Dean’s Suite
  • Lounges and study/breakout areas for students
  • Vivarium research laboratories

Planning/Design Objectives:

  • Create a new identity for the Sciences thru the building and landscape design (Formation of a Science Quad).
  • Consolidate the Sciences and promote better adjacencies.
  • Utilize program density to create a building with activity and a sense of place for the sciences.
  • Design the building to compliment the campus context with the Quad to the west and the distant views to the east.
  • Reinforce with campus mission-style architecture.
  • Design to LEED certification level of Silver.
  • Design to accommodate trans-disciplinary research thru flexible/adaptable lab configurations.
  • Plan to allow for future expansion of the Sciences with a possible connection to the existing buildings.