Case Studies

Rieveschl Hall Renovation – University of Cincinnati

Project Specifications:

The Solution

Fosdick & Hilmer provided mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection engineering and design services for a $28 million (M/E/P/FP/IT-Data was $19 million) partial renovation of the 500, 600, 700 and 800 levels (2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th floors) of this laboratory, classroom and office building. These four floors are approximately 186,000 GSF in total area. Rieveschl Hall is a 234,000 GSF five-story building constructed in 1968.

Phases 3 & 4 of this project provide renovation of 93,628 GSF of space with a focus on accommodating the current and future needs of the Department of Biology’s undergraduate teaching laboratories; research laboratories; offices; conference rooms; and informal meeting areas. Teaching labs were moved into smaller spaces to accommodate class sizes of 24 and were provided with flexible systems to allow for group work and hands-on learning. Research labs were designed as larger flexible spaces with support labs to attract new researchers, allow for flexibility as research changes, and encourage collaboration.

Specialized spaces included within this renovation include the following:

  • Fish Rooms
  • Frog Room
  • Leech Room
  • Lizard Room
  • Snake Rooms
  • Insectaria
  • Neurobiology
  • Microbiology
  • Preparation Labs
  • Procedure Rooms
  • Microscopy Labs
  • Autoclave/Glass Wash/Cage Wash Rooms

In order to accomplish the project goals, a complete replacement was provided for the entire infrastructure serving the four floors. Major M/E/P/FP/IT and automation program requirements included the following:

  • New HVAC systems; replacement of existing 100% outside air constant-volume dual-duct supply system with a variable air volume HVAC supply and lab hood exhaust system to minimize energy consumption. Lab hood exhaust is collected at the roof level and taken through energy recovery coils before release to the atmosphere.
  • Addition of closed-loop standalone laboratory process cooling system connected to select laboratory fume hoods.
  • Conversion from analog to digital HVAC and lab hood exhaust control systems including integration to new building energy management systems. All field devices, PLC’s and control panels are Siemens.
  • Replacement of building and laboratory lighting; includes diurnal lighting controls for laboratory spaces using circadian rhythm, and shielded lighting where no electromagnetic discharge signature is desired in the space.
  • Replacement of building and laboratory plumbing systems for both floors.
  • Replacement of building and laboratory electric distribution for both floors.
  • Extension of fire riser and addition of fire suppression systems on both floors.



  • Renovation of an occupied building.
  • All animal facilities designed to comply with AAALAC guidelines. [all animal facilities are expected to receive AAALAC accreditation]
  • HVAC system analysis and corrective design to maintain air balance and temperature requirements for laboratory spaces.
  • Digital control systems to precisely maintain air pressurization differences between spaces and the independent temperature requirements of each laboratory, classroom and office.
  • Programming phase defined the teaching and research needs for the biology department; planned for the flexibility required over time; and defined the scope of the renovation within the given budget.
  • Construction phase planning was provided to facilitate the existing building’s operations, as well as those of the surrounding buildings, throughout the construction period.
  • Asbestos fire proofing exists on the steel structure throughout both floors; fire proofing was removed and replaced with a non-asbestos fire proofing material.
  • Sustainable design features were added when allowed within the project budget.
    • Occupancy sensors are installed in every space to control the lighting, HVAC supply air flow, and lab hood exhaust air flow.
    • Propylene glycol water loop recovers sensible energy from the exhaust air and transfer it to the supply air.