Case Studies

Stocking Hall: Revitalizing Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

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Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is about to get a delicious new addition. The State University of New York Construction Fund allocated $93.7 million – toward a total project cost of $95.8 million – to rehabilitate and expand the historic Stocking Hall, which will facilitate groundbreaking research in food and wine production and sensorial food studies. The new Stocking Hall will be outfitted with state-of-the-art technologies and equipment that will help keep the food science program one of the nation’s highest rated. In a competitive public bid process, The Pike Company (Pike) was selected as the general contractor to oversee the four-year LEED Gold-aiming project, bringing extensive New York-specific industry experience to the table.

Pike calls the town of Rochester, N.Y., home and the company also maintains regional offices in Albany, Syracuse and New York City, as well as one in Hartford, Conn. Thomas F. Judson Jr. officially formed Pike in 1985, but the company’s origins stretch back to 1873. At that time, John Barnabas Pike moved from Holland and established his own carpentry contracting operation. John eventually passed the company down to Thomas F. Judson Sr., his son-in-law, who in turn passed the company on to his son, Thomas Jr.

Throughout these changes of command, though, Pike adhered to its philosophy of simply delivering a product that helps the customer succeed. Quality construction, communication, a personal commitment to safe work sites and an emphasis on efficiency continue to define the company’s operations almost 120 years later. In the process, Pike has been fortunate enough to oversee many high-profile projects in its day, including the completion of the U.S. Land Port of Entry in Champlain, N.Y., which was the federal government’s first ever paperless project.

“I came to work at Pike because of the company’s reputation and focus in the New York market,” says Michael Streeter, project manager at Pike. Pike identified Streeter to oversee the general construction of the Stocking Hall project, specifically because of Streeter’s previous experience working for The Bell Company, one of the state’s most respected general contractors and a heavy-hitter in the mechanical contracting arena.

Leading the Nation

Stocking Hall’s revitalization requires an extensive amount of coordination amongst the project’s highly capable teams, as the new space will combine traditional educational spaces and some of the most advanced laboratory and dairy plant technology available. Pike officially broke ground on the project in January 2011, beginning with a well-coordinated excavation. The team had to be careful when exposing a series of asbestos-covered piping; enlisting Target Group to oversee the asbestos abatement components.

This was followed by the demolition of 40,000 gross square feet of Stocking Hall’s existing labs, dairy plant and dairy bar to make way for the new construction. In pursuit of LEED Gold certification, much of the building’s existing lab furniture and supplies were appropriately cleaned, sorted and relocated for use elsewhere, either on campus, off campus or placed in a nearby classroom for reuse. Any remaining metal furniture items were sent to be recycled.

Once the space connecting the dairy processing plant was removed, Pike set to work constructing a building to contain a dairy plant, the Cornell Dairy Bar, faculty offices, research labs, an auditorium, conference center and a 3,900-square foot teaching winery. To note, Cornell’s own dairy cows supply the dairy processing plant with over 1.5 million gallons of raw milk annually in order to produce thousands of gallons of fluid milk, yogurt, ice cream and pudding.

The Future of Food Science

Pike and the project’s construction teams ramped up the first phase of construction, building an all-new Dairy Bar and dairy processing plant, complete with computer-controlled freezers, tanks and pasteurization equipment. The Dairy Plant portion will have an exterior custom stainless steel curtain wall system and stainless steel framed windows to a gallery overlook for visitors to follow the milk through all phases of the pasteurization process, from raw materials to a packaged product
“One of the biggest challenges on the job is just scheduling the work so we can allow the Food Science Lab, which contains a food-grade pilot plant, to continue operating,” says Streeter. “Luckily, we have been able to work through these issues by continually reassessing our scheduling on a day-to-day basis.”

Once the first phase of construction is complete, Pike will start work on the rehabilitation of the original Stocking Hall, which was completed in 1923. The interior spaces will be redesigned to accommodate a growing student body with several classrooms and teaching labs. Pike will also construct a wine library. “It’s definitely not the kind of project you run into very often,” laughs Streeter.

Pike is on track to deliver Phase 1 in December 2012 and Phase II in September 2014. Once the project is complete, Cornell University and the Pike Company team can celebrate the future of food science with a frosty cold pint of Cornell Dairy ice cream.

Published on: March 13, 2013

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