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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Biology

Alumni & Development

BioNews: Winter 2013-14

Jordan Hall renovation celebrated

IU Bloomington campus community members attended a dedication celebration on February 21, 2014, to mark the recent renovations made to Jordan and Owen Halls. While some Jordan Hall upgrades (basically room by room) have been made to the facilities over the past decades, this current round of renovations was the most substantial set of improvements to the building since the addition completed in 1984. Owen Hall’s renovation allowed various administrative units of the College of Arts and Sciences to come together under one roof.

Dignitaries who were part of the program included IU President Michael A. McRobbie, Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan, Provost Lauren Robel, College Executive Dean Larry D. Singell, and College Associate Executive Dean Jean C. Robinson. Thomas A. Morrison, IU vice president for capital projects and facilities; Andrew J. Hine, a principal with arcDESIGN; and Thomas E. Reilly Jr., chair of the Trustees of Indiana University, spoke at the presentation where Hine presented Reilly with a symbolic key to the two buildings. Sonya Joseph, a senior majoring in biology, and Brittany A. Niccum, a Ph.D. candidate in microbiology, spoke during the ceremony, saying what the Jordan Hall improvements meant to them.

south side of Jordan Hall, showing the 5th-floor rooftop greenhouse

The recently renovated fifth-floor greenhouse spans the top of the south side of Jordan Hall. Photo: Terri Greene/IU Department of Biology

In 2011 IU received funds from the state of Indiana bolstered by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The university allocated $9 million toward renovating Jordan Hall. Supplemental institutional funding (primarily through the College of Arts & Sciences) to cover network equipment, building controls, and unforeseen conditions due to the building’s age brought the total to approximately $10.5 million.

Many areas of Jordan Hall were targeted for upgrades—including extensive interior spaces from the ground floor through the fourth floor, plus the rooftop greenhouses and the roof itself. A considerable amount of the building infrastructure (air handling, electrical systems, and plumbing) was included. 

In the first phase of the project, the rooftop greenhouses were completely removed, the old roof was jackhammered away, and a new watertight roof installed. On top of the new roof, workers installed close to 3,000 square feet of modern greenhouse and restored several existing spaces. The greenhouses are now in full use by IU plant biologists, and the roof no longer leaks water into the laboratory space below.

Researchers in Dean Rowe-Magnus lab

Dean Rowe-Magnus’s lab manager Veena Patil (center) and undergraduate researcher Mattan Arazi (right) check the growth of colonies after a transformation of plasmid DNA into E. coli while graduate researcher Meng Pu checks the results of a bacterial conjugation experiment. Fourth-floor space that had formerly housed the outdated microbiology teaching labs was gutted and converted into modern research space. Rowe-Magnus’s research group occupies a portion of the new space. Photo: Terri Greene/IU Department of Biology

new classroom

The new interactive classroom in Jordan Hall 065 is equipped with the latest audiovisual technology. Room capacity is 63 students. The desks on wheels are popular with both instructors and students as they can arrange the seating to accommodate lectures, discussion groups, and other activities. Photo: Greg Demas/IU Department of Biology

students in teaching lab

Students in Eric Knox’s B300 Vascular Plants course examine the comparative biology of ferns in one of the several newly renovated teaching laboratories. Photo: Terri Greene/IU Department of Biology

In other areas of Jordan Hall, new classrooms were constructed, new teaching labs built, and a large fraction of research space renovated. Nowhere is this more striking than along the south face of the fourth floor. The microbiology teaching labs located in this area for decades had become antiquated. In a prior project, the IU College of Arts and Sciences generously funded construction of new microbiology teaching labs in the center of Jordan Hall on the ground and first floors.  In the most recent renovation project the space these teaching labs vacated was completely gutted and converted to four separate, modern, and well-constructed research labs. The research groups of IU microbiologists Yves Brun, Patricia Foster, Dean Rowe-Magnus, and Melanie Marketon now occupy the new lab space.

Another example of much-needed modernization that occurred involved the closing of a second-floor lecture room that had been recognized as old and inadequate teaching space. A contemporary and dynamic classroom designed for student interaction was constructed on the ground floor of Jordan Hall. This outstanding classroom is used extensively, and its creation has freed up the second-floor space for research labs.

Biology Chair Clay Fuqua noted that all of the renovation work was performed with Jordan Hall fully occupied by personnel (in some cases temporarily relocated). Fuqua said, “It is fair to say that the work required the patience and collaboration of all building occupants as well as the construction teams. Heavy construction occurred whenever possible when classes were not scheduled, and construction crews were as responsive as possible to faculty and student requests. Heavy renovation with a building full of people was challenging for all, but in this single project Jordan Hall has improved 21 percent of its usable space, and the Department of Biology is extremely pleased with the end results. Other pockets of the building and some of the infrastructure remain to update, but this project was a hugely important step forward for life science teaching and research on campus. We are all tremendously grateful for the improvements.”

Renovation process

Renovations were coordinated by the University Architect’s Office through the external architect firm arcDESIGN and the engineering firm Mussett Nicholas + Associates—both Indianapolis-based companies.

Designs for renovation were drawn up from a portion of the Biology Master Building Plan formulated by Roger Innes and Clay Fuqua, then Biology Chair and Associate Chair for Research, respectively. Laboratory and classroom designs were developed in consultation with faculty and staff, and eventually the plans were used for a competitive bid process to identify a construction firm. Weddle Bros. Building Group was awarded the project and started the renovation in late 2010.

The total size of the renovated space is 38,000 square feet inside the building (roughly 21 percent of the total working space) and another 14,000 square feet on the roof.

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