Project scope: First-phase retrofit of first-floor labs in support of UND’s Science, Engineering & National Security Corridor
Current stage: Demolition, structural improvements
Total estimated cost: $2.3 million
Estimated completion date: Q1 2024
For the first time since the building’s construction in 1952, the first-floor, multi-room lab of Harrington Hall – aka Lab 120 – is undergoing a major renovation.
One of the project’s goals: install UND’s very first “cleanroom,” an isolated and precisely controlled environment that will serve the College of Engineering & Mines’ role in UND’s Science, Engineering & National Security Corridor.
“We’re completely retrofitting this space into a very modern and clean assembly area for students and faculty who will be working on assembling satellite components,” said Brian Larson, director of construction management and project manager for the Harrington Hall renovations.
The cleanroom is an individual yet entirely unique component of the lab’s rework. According to Larson, it will be rated at ISO-8, named for the International Standards Organization. At this rating, the room provides air cleanliness to a maximum of 100,000 particles per cubic foot of interior air.
In other words, it will be one of the cleanest places on campus.
In the cleanroom, air is continuously pushed down from the ceiling and flushed out. Such capabilities are crucial for assembling highly sensitive electronics and aerospace components that must remain free of contaminants.
This room will be attached to the main space of Lab 120, which is currently labeled as the “Satellite Fabrication & Assembly Lab.” Also included in the rework is another immediate offshoot, which will be the Satellite Design & Engineering Lab.
The other major piece of Harrington Hall’s first-floor renovation is Lab 109, across the hall, creating a high-capacity computing space soon to be known as the Digital Engineering & Big Data Lab.
The University will be routing a 100-gigabyte fiber connection to the labs, referred to collectively as the National Security Corridor, among other computational upgrades. For context, the typical highest speed for entire buildings on campus is 10 gigabytes per second, Larson remarked.
Future expansions of the project will include the creation of a Satellite & Space Debris Tracking Facility, which will undoubtedly harness Harrington’s new computing and networking power.
“This is a substantial amount of computing power made available by our close coordination with NDUS Core Technology Services and University IT, as well as our School of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science,” he said.
At UND Today, a feature written by Writer/Editor Walter Criswell will detail how the College of Engineering & Mines intends to use such capabilities.
Summer demolition for a new experience
Using higher education appropriations specifically supporting space-related and national security research and education, the project is underway this summer with demolition work – clearing out the existing space for a high-grade facelift.
Larson remarked that existing framing and structural pieces of the lab are receiving upgrades, and that mechanical equipment serving the space is also being updated.
Into fall, the hallway and restroom facilities will be reworked to match the new and fresh look of the lab, as well as ensure Americans with Disabilities Act compliance for the overall space.
The following copy from a College brochure on the National Security Corridor describes the anticipated results of such renovations:
“The hallway windows allow visibility into the engineering labs and design spaces, highlighting the daily research and innovation happening at the College. Redesigned display units along the walls will highlight specific industry-related projects and feature the accomplishments of students, faculty and alumni.”
As one of the first national defense-geared investments on campus, the intent is to create a space that is “modern and impressive” – matching the aesthetic experience of recent renovations, ongoing projects and future efforts.
“It will be kind of like the experience you get while walking through Swanson, going past the esports facility that now exists,” Larson said. “That space has jumped forward in time by many decades, and our work at Harrington is going to set the tone for future renovations and updates while preserving our existing academic spaces.”
Between now and the end of the calendar year, new electrical systems and finishes (paint and flooring, etc.) are expected to take shape. There are pieces of existing research equipment – including a room-sized radiofrequency isolation chamber – that need to be relocated to accommodate the lab’s newest mission.
As far as the timeline for completion is concerned, much of it may depend on the delivery of specific equipment and materials unique to the cleanroom and other high-tech lab components, Larson said. Current estimates point to some time during spring semester 2024.
For further updates on Harrington Hall and other campus projects, be sure to check the Campus Renewal blog.