Attention to detail is vital to any well-designed building. And in the case of the Eastern Kentucky University Science Building in Richmond, KY, planning and forethought was behind the decision to clad the building with extraordinarily long-lasting zinc wall panels from Norcross, GA-based IMETCO.
The Science Building was conceived from the beginning to be a two-phase project. Phase 1 involved the construction of a 174,000 sq. ft. wing to house the chemistry, physics and astronomy departments, as well as classrooms and laboratories. Construction cost an estimated $64 million and that portion of the project was completed in late 2011. Ground was broken in October 2014 for Phase 2, a $66.3 million, 158,000-square-foot addition that will house Departments of Biological Sciences and Geography and Geology. It is expected to be completed in 2017.
EKU Faculty Regent Dr. Malcolm Frisbie, a professor of biological sciences, is credited with shepherding the initial Science Building phase through the planning and design stages.
“The new facility will allow EKU faculty to do what they do best … even better,” he said in announcing the project several years ago. “The teaching spaces will promote the dynamic, collaborative, experience-based teaching that is so characteristic of Eastern.”
The building and the site were designed to raise environmental awareness and “function as teaching elements themselves,” Frisbie added. One example of that goes back to the decision to specify the IMETCO FW Series and Latitude metal wall panel systems in United Zinc, a durable, environmentally-friendly natural metal with a lifespan measured in centuries rather than decades. Although the panels were-treated for immediate aesthetic appeal (the Glacier Gray color was chosen for EKU), United Zinc continues to develop its distinctive patina as it ages, creating a durable protective barrier against surface corrosion. Zinc’s naturally forming patina is a protective layer of zinc carbonate, which provides decades of virtually maintenance-free protection. As zinc continues to renew this protective layer throughout its lifespan, any imperfections or scratches will naturally self-heal, minimizing the need for ongoing maintenance.
Besides more classrooms and labs, Phase 2 was also conceived to include the construction of a greenhouse and aquatic beds. Run-off from storms and the building itself will empty into a wetland on the side of the building, which will house native wetland plants and develop into a rich ecological community that can be observed and studied. United Zinc is the ideal choice for external façade in these types of cases because it resists mold, mildew and fungus, offering runoff that is safe desirable vegetation
Omni Architects of Lexington, KY designed both phases. The installer of the IMETCO products on Phase 1 was American Roofing & Metal Company, Louisville, KY.