Kinsley is currently constructing the new 42,500-sq-ft Innovation and Discovery Center (IDC) on an active Ursinus College campus in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. Keeping students safe during construction, coordinating complex MEP systems, and working around an existing vivarium in a surrounding building are challenges we expect to face.

The project was born out of an ever-expanding campus, coupled with the need to provide an academic space focused on science and innovation. The addition will connect two existing buildings, Thomas Hall and Pfahler Hall. It will bring together policy, entrepreneurship and science under one roof while fostering creative and innovative thinking.

The IDC will house Ursinus’s Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good, which provides opportunities for students to become civically engaged scientific leaders, and the U-Imagine Center for Integrative and Entrepreneurial Studies, which encourages students to exercise innovation, leadership, imagination and creativity.


As with all on-campus projects, safety of the students, faculty and staff is of primary concern. The IDC is designed to connect two existing buildings, which will remain active throughout the construction process. We are taking the following steps to make sure that everyone on campus is safe at all times:

  • Developing and implementing a logistics plan.
  • Providing directional signage to facilitate ingress and egress from the existing buildings.
  • Coordinating daily construction activities with campus activities to minimize the impact of construction. For example, steel erection is scheduled to begin on the last day of spring semester when most students will not be on campus.
  • Using “Visitu for Education,” an app that can track, monitor and manage who enters the campus and prints badges for all contractors and visitors.


An intriguing aspect of this project is working around an existing vivarium, an area used for keeping and raising animals for observation and research. Ursinus’ vivarium is located in Pfahler, one of the buildings the new construction ties into. Elevated noise and vibration levels can cause the animals’ stress levels to rise. Our superintendent is working closely with research staff, who are carefully monitoring the animals.

Finally, this project presents the challenge of coordinating the installation of complex MEP systems. To ensure a smooth field installation process and to keep the project on schedule, we are using Building Information Modeling (BIM) to sequence the work. BIM also helps us avoid costly field delays or rework through the off-site prefabrication of parts and components, which will be delivered to the jobsite for assembly.

This project is currently underway with a scheduled June 2018 completion.

Posted by kinsleyco

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