Bates picks design, construction firms for new science building

Bates has engaged the architectural and construction-management firms for a new science building on Campus Avenue scheduled to open for autumn 2021 classes.

Housing certain specialties in the college’s chemistry, biology, and neuroscience programs, the new building will include shared instrumentation rooms and other common resources supporting advanced teaching and research in those disciplines.

Payette, a nationally acclaimed, Boston-based architecture firm that specializes in buildings for healthcare, health sciences, and academic sciences, is the project architect.

Consigli Construction Co., headquartered in Massachusetts but with an office in Portland, Maine, will serve as construction manager for the science building.

The concept for the building “really is about putting people together who have shared research areas and shared research needs” rather than separating them in quarters according to discipline, says Ryan Bavis, co-chair of Bates’ STEM Facilities Building Committee and the Helen A. Papaioanou Professor of Biological Sciences.

In addition, “the project serves to get some of our most energy-intensive and resource-intensive research labs into best-practice, state-of-the-art facilities,” explains Geoffrey Swift, vice president for finance and administration and treasurer.

The proposed three-story structure will provide approximately 54,000 gross square feet of new space. It will house research and teaching labs, a variety of classrooms, and spaces for students to study and meet.

The building will support teaching and research at an advanced level attractive to top faculty and students. Its design will reflect current thinking in science pedagogy; provide flexible, pleasant, and efficient workspaces; and incorporate cutting-edge technologies.

The project is part of a comprehensive reconfiguration of Bates science facilities that will also entail the repurposing of one existing building and substantial improvements to another.

Known for the quality of its faculty-student research collaborations, Bates first engaged Payette in 2016 to guide a comprehensive review of the college’s STEM facilities. That review produced an overall plan that starts out with the new building.

Payette’s leadership in that review process made a good impression at Bates, and the firm’s expertise makes it a great fit for designing the new facility. “They gave a very strong presentation,” says Swift, “and they’ve got extensive experience with collegiate STEM facilities.”

The regional construction firm Consigli has managed several major facilities projects at Bates, including the construction of its dining Commons, which opened in 2008, and two student residences that were completed in 2016 adjacent to the science building site.

“We’re thrilled to have them partner in another project,” says Chris Streifel, a Bates project manager who will oversee the science-building work. “They bring a wealth of local knowledge. They know us as a client and they know our business, so that’s a huge plus.”

Bates’ revamp of its science facilities also encompasses the renovation and repurposing of Dana Chemistry Hall, built in 1965, and Carnegie Science, built in 1913 and expanded in 1961 and 1990. A goal for the new building is to free up space in the existing facilities such that Dana can be largely repurposed as an introductory science center, and Carnegie can undergo upgrades to its mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.

While the final budget for the new building is still being determined, the overall science facilities plan will be supported by a $50 million gift from the family foundation of Michael ’80 and Alison Grott Bonney ’80. Michael Bonney is the chair of the Bates Board of Trustees and the CEO and chair of Kaleido Biosciences.