Lehigh is a premier private research university nestled beautifully within Bethlehem, PA’s historic district, with state-of-the-art facilities and stately stone buildings of yesteryear dotting its verdant hillside campus.  The 150-year-old institution strikes a perfect balance between international recognition and the atmosphere of a small college.  When we were chosen to manage their mechanically intensive renovation project, it was with full appreciation for the elevated expectations of an institution built on excellence.

The laboratory project included the renovation of the “C” wing lab of Iacocca Hall, a distinguished but aging structure built in 1958.  We immediately incorporated Building Integration Modeling and collaborated with the city’s building inspector to address code issues ranging from standard ADA upgrades to less common requirements including flame and smoke spread tests of existing onsite metal panels.  We were also challenged to keep a lab open for a professor positioned in the center of the project.

Demolition began with the removal and relocation of more than 20 exhaust fans, existing dust collection units, water systems, air compressors, pumps, and more. The piping and ductwork insulation throughout contained asbestos, so to allow for its removal, strict containment and air monitoring was maintained.  Our teams also coordinated around existing utilities, designed and installed a new fire suppression system to the floor, re-worked utilities for a new lab layout, added ductwork as required for four new exhaust fans and located enough clear space in the penthouse for exhaust ductwork.

The final laboratory space consists of multiple flex lab zones, three sections of open flex space lab and a microbiological wing featuring Clean Lithography, Microfab Lab, and three Class II Tissue Culture Labs with upgrades ranging from HEPA filters to bio-safety cabinets. The fit-out also touts three dark rooms, a cold room, study area and conference room – built in just 18 weeks – to specification and with a vast majority of construction waste on the eco-friendly campus, responsibly recycled.

Lehigh University Labs

Sq ft 7,000
Architect Nalls Architecture, Inc
Services General Contractor/Lump Sum


“The Health Research Hub laboratory facilities in Iacocca Hall presented a number of challenges that threatened a successful outcome. These included an accelerated schedule with a hard deadline, work within existing space that harbored hidden issues, satisfying the requirements of City inspectors, and coordinating work with University personnel, some of whom continued to occupy a portion of the project area throughout construction. OHA utilized effective scheduling tools, knowledgeable, professional staff, and good communication to navigate all of these issues successfully.”

- Robert E. Nalls, AIA, President, NALLS Architecture, Inc.

ABC Excellence in Construction Award

Lehigh University Health Research Hub

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