New Science Center (NSC)
Centralia College
Centralia, WA

Size: 70,000 SF

Construction Cost: $24 Million

LEED Gold Certified

Wood Harbinger’s design provides flexibility for the infrastructure to accommodate future modifications for the next 50 years.

Founded in 1925, Centralia College is Washington’s oldest continually operating two-year college. In response to overwhelming enrollment growth with further projected increase, the past 13 years have marked a responsive period of renewal for the college, with remodels and new construction of major campus centers including the new Science Center, opened to students in 2009.

For the new state-of-the-art, 70,000 SF, three-story New Science Center (NSC), Wood Harbinger contributed largely to the building’s sustainability through the integration and complexity of energy-efficient systems and environmentally compatible material, achieving a 32% reduction in overall energy consumption compared to the ASHRAE baseline building.

The new science center replaced four existing facilities – Ehret Hall, Lingreen Hall, The Health/Science Center and the Batie Science Center – all of which had long since reached the end of their building life cycle and could no longer adequately support the increasing student enrollment. Due to the type of construction mechanical problems as well as maintenance demands, did not provide an adequate base for renovation.

Wood Harbinger provided mechanical and electrical engineering for the new replacement building with sustainability in mind, achieving energy and resource savings through such measures as utilizing outdoor air measuring devices and CO2 sensors located in all densely populated spaces, which allow for on-demand ventilation delivery to provide fresh air as needed rather than over-conditioning outside air, as well as the use of automatic daylighting controls in all classrooms and low-flow plumbing fixtures in all public toilet rooms. The building’s boiler emissions were demonstrated to be in line with Southwest Clean Air Agency Standards via calculations and analysis. This is a code criteria unique to area of Washington state in which the college is located.

Due to the intensity of the mechanical systems and the technical nature of the building, Wood Harbinger worked closely with the Architect to enclose the mechanical systems either inside the mechanical penthouses or within the screened areas on the roof, resulting in little visual impact on the building and upholding the classic architecture.

The new structure locates all Centralia College’s science programming under one roof, mitigating the inherent inefficiency in having the science departments split between four separate structures, and allowing for versatility in future programs as well as improvements in the quality, volume, and availability of the science instructional space. The building originally gained LEED Silver certification but was confirmed to have met LEED Gold Standards in 2010 after demonstrating adherence to the higher standards.

Mechanical systems included:

  • Three air handling systems, each designated to classrooms, labs, and administration spaces
  • Three high efficiency condensing boilers
  • One 250-ton air cooled chiller
  • A laboratory utility system
  • An HVAC system with variable volume air distribution for the offices, classrooms, and lab spaces
  • Fire protection

Electrical systems included:

  • Power, lighting, and data
  • Two separate electrical services provided by the utility company. This setup provided a cost saving solution, as it eliminated the need for transformers distributed throughout the building
  • A 150 Kw diesel powered emergency generator
  • Automatic day lighting controls in all classrooms
  • Underground communications duct banks

Wood Harbinger also provided construction administration services including coordinating with the contractor, reviewing shop drawings, providing site observations during construction, and coordinating with the commissioning agent on mechanical and electrical concerns.