Dedication for New UF Research and Academic Center at Lake Nona

University of Florida’s (UF) new Research and Academic Center at Lake Nona was dedicated on Friday, November 30, 2012. The four-story, 115,000-square-foot facility is pending LEED Gold certification.

KBR Building Group’s Florida regional office in Orlando provided preconstruction and construction services for the project. The architect of record is HOK. AEI served as the Engineer and TLC as the Commissioning Agent.

The Research and Academic Center’s design includes a conventionally reinforced concrete structure, with a façade clad with complex exterior finishes including curtain wall and a composite metal panel with terra-cotta rain screen system. An elaborate stainless steel sunshade element on the west elevation contributes to heat load reduction, increasing energy efficiency. State-of-the-art mechanical systems were required to support the facility and its lab spaces. Systems incorporate many energy-efficient features including one of the first applications of “chilled beams” in the state of Florida, as well as energy recovery units. Heat exchangers and fume hoods with exhaust fans were also installed.

This project represents KBR Building Group’s second LEED Gold project in the Medical City at Lake Nona. The neighboring Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute’s state-of-the-art research center, for which KBR Building Group won several awards, received LEED Gold certification in December 2009. KBR Building Group ranks No. 5 on the Orlando Business Journal’s (OBJ) 2012 list of Largest General Contractors.

UF’s new facility includes space for research, laboratories, academic, office, conference and support areas to facilitate the University of Florida’s mission at Lake Nona. It is home to UF’s College of Pharmacy, Orlando, which relocated from its existing location in nearby Apopka. A new doctorate program will be added in pharmacometrics, an area of research that seeks to quantify how drugs and diseases interact to aid in effective drug development.

In addition, the facility will house the UF Institute of Therapeutic Innovation, which will bring together researchers from the Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, along with scientists from the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, to develop therapies for diseases, including cancer, cardiovascular disease and brain disorders. The center will also include a clinical research unit for the UF Institute on Aging where senior citizens will receive help with mobility problems.

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