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Renovations to replace elevators and mechanical systems in Barus and Holley will begin later this month, said Stephen Maiorisi, vice president for Facilities Management. The $12 million renewal project is expected to last around a year and will make it possible for the buildings to undergo a larger-scale renovation in the future.

Barus and Holley's mechanical infrastructure has not been replaced since the building was constructed in 1965. "Over those years it's gone through a lot of individual changes," Maiorisi said. "The infrastructure need(s) to be replaced to support growing technology."

"The elevators have historically been a little unreliable," said Lawrence Larson, dean of the School of Engineering, adding that everyone in the building is looking forward to their replacement.

Replacing the mechanical infrastructure, including the ventilation systems, of the building will enable a large-scale renovation in the future, Maiorisi said. The simplest way to renovate Barus and Holley would be to completely empty it out, but doing so would not be feasible, he said, because of the building's large number of engineering and physics classrooms, offices and labs.

Instead, the 220,000 square-foot building would need to be renovated floor by floor, as was done with the BioMed center from 2005 to 2012, Maiorisi said. The current infrastructure of Barus and Holley would not allow this method of renovation, but these planned updates will enable such renovations in the future, he said.

"Our mandate was to pave the way so that everything we can do now can be utilized so that when future renovations take place we won't have to redo systems that we're just replacing now," said Project Manager Tom Cousineau.

Facilities Management hired the Massachusetts-based construction management firm BOND to complete the first phase of renovations. The firm completed an over $70 million replacement of hot water piping on campus from 2006 to 2008. They have also carried out infrastructure renovations at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology similar to the one planned for Barus and Holley, Cousineau said.

The University does not currently have plans for a large-scale renovation of Barus and Holley, but a better sense of when such a renovation might take place will likely emerge by the end of the academic year after President Christina Paxson and Provost Mark Schlissel P'15 complete the next round of planning, Maiorisi said. Upgrading the entire building could require an additional $30 to $50 million, he added.

Larson said the University has great physics and engineering facilities, especially for undergraduate students. But he added, "Many of our peers have invested in new engineering buildings over the last decade with state of the art laboratories. ... Recruiting top faculty often requires really top lab space as well, and that's something that Brown is working to improve."


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