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Syracuse University dedicates Link+ interdisciplinary wing
Syracuse University dedicates Link+ interdisciplinary wingApril 25, 2008Tricia Hopkinsthopkins@syr.edu
In a new space within Syracuse University’s Link Hall, scholars, researchers and students from a wide range of disciplines will now come together to collaborate on a broad spectrum of education and research, from ensuring water quality to creating personal environments that will allow individuals to create their own comfort levels, to developing stronger building materials.
On Friday, April 25, SU dedicated “Link+”, a five-story, interdisciplinary wing built onto the north side of Link Hall. The new addition houses state-of-the art research laboratories for the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (LCS) and the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (Syracuse CoE).
The cost of the 10,164-square-foot addition and associated investments in equipment for laboratories is $10.1 million, of which $6 million was provided by a grant from New York State for investments in Syracuse CoE facilities. The new Syracuse CoE facilities and equipment serve as a collaborative environment where SU students and faculty will work together with researchers from partner firms and institutions to advance the understanding of intelligent workplaces and how they can satisfy the needs of an innovation-based work environment.
“I am thrilled that this unique interdisciplinary wing we call Link+ will be the new, expanded home of the Syracuse CoE on our campus,” says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “This facility would not have been possible without the leadership and vision of our state legislators — Senators DeFrancisco and Valesky, and Assembly members Christensen and Magnarelli, who secured funding for the Syracuse CoE. We are excited to be able to begin showcasing the CoE’s important research. I’m also thankful for Gov. Paterson’s continued support of the Syracuse CoE.”
The addition includes a high-bay structural engineering laboratory, soils laboratory and offices for LCS’ Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering on the basement level. The high bay extends into where the addition’s first and second floors would be. The third and fourth floors include new research laboratories for the Syracuse CoE, including facilities for indoor environmental and water quality research and a unique test bed for the study of “built” environments. The fourth floor also includes faculty offices, meeting rooms, graduate student offices and an open lobby space to foster interaction and collaboration. Link+ also strategically connects to Slocum Hall, home of SU’s School of Architecture, thus enabling faculty and student interactions between engineers and architects.
“This new interdisciplinary wing is visible evidence of the value we place on interdisciplinary scholarship and collaboration. Faculty and student researchers from several disciplines are housed in the new wing with the hope and promise of innovative ideas that spring from having excellent minds in close proximity to each other,” says Shiu-Kai Chin, interim dean of LCS. “The new wing significantly upgrades our civil engineering facilities and thereby improves the resources for our undergraduates. Of course, all of this works in concert with other interdisciplinary centers, such as the Syracuse CoE, the CASE Center and the Syracuse Biomaterials Center.”
“The opening of Link+ is another great leap forward for the members of the Syracuse CoE federation and our vision to earn international recognition researching and developing new products and services for built and urban environments,” says Edward A. Bogucz, executive director of the Syracuse CoE. “The addition of this key asset to the Syracuse CoE portfolio will expand key collaborations among our academic, industry and government members, collaborations which are the hallmark of the federation and which are transforming the Central New York economy.”
A unique Intelligent Control of Urban and Built Environments (ICUBE) test bed will enable researchers to study and document how to improve environmental quality and energy efficiency in “built” environments, such as offices, schools, homes and surrounding urban settings. The test bed will allow researchers to study the office environment and its energy burden under real-world conditions, rather than in a test chamber setting, as is normally done. The test bed will be reconfigurable to simulate a wide variety of common settings in commercial office buildings, including cubicles, offices and meeting rooms.
Other studies planned for the ICUBE test bed include the automatic tracking of individuals and their thermal environments; tests on the performance of an organic filter; tests of a wireless sensor network; and tests on a prototype personal environmental control system developed by a local company.
The initial configuration of the ICUBE test bed will consist of two identical office chambers of 1,000 square feet each that can accommodate 16 office workers for the study of the indoor environment, thermal quality and energy consumption. The two chambers, to be operated as “experiment” and “control” office spaces, include dedicated HVAC systems and under-floor ventilation. Workers in the experimental chamber will be able to set up their own comfort conditions using small individual HVAC units dedicated to each office cubicle. A dedicated sensor lab is also housed on the third floor to monitor and measure the energy consumption under different variables.
The addition was designed by Toshiko Mori Architects of New York City, the design architect for the Syracuse CoE headquarters building currently under construction. Einhorn Yaffee Prescott of Albany was the architect of record.
The Link+ addition includes several green elements, including natural daylighting for the fourth-floor offices, office furniture made of low-emitting materials and recycled carpet in offices.
“The new Link+ wing adds another center of innovation to the area’s growing collaborative portfolio,” says state Sen. David J. Valesky (D-Oneida). “The interdisciplinary approach to be practiced here, bringing students, professors and professionals from across fields focused on civil engineering research, holds great promise for the Central New York economy and the environment around us. I am delighted to be here today as this great center of learning and innovation is dedicated.”
“I am pleased to have played a role in obtaining funding for this vital project,” says state Sen. John A. DeFrancisco. “Today’s dedication and these state-of-the-art research laboratories begin a new chapter for our research, academic and business communities. This venture will help them develop innovative ideas and technologies that will help to catapult Central New York to the forefront as a leader in the environmental and energy systems industry. This will have a tremendous impact on our local economy that will benefit all who live here.”
“I have continually supported Syracuse University’s Center of Excellence, and to date have helped secure over $40 million in state funding for the center,” says state Assemblyman William Magnarelli. “The necessary collaboration between businesses and academic institutions is the key to economic prosperity here in Syracuse and Central New York, and will undoubtedly become a hub of continued research and development.”
“The new addition to the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science is precisely the type of exciting educational opportunity we need here in Central New York,” says state Assemblywoman Joan Christensen. “It is essential that we encourage the innovation and creativity of our higher education institutions and capitalize on their research to help fuel Syracuse’s economic engine.”
The L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science at Syracuse University has been educating engineers and computer scientists since 1901. Creating new knowledge and technologies, LCS is a research-based academic institution that encourages interdisciplinary research at all levels. LCS offers a total of nine different undergraduate degree programs, a variety of technical minors, and opportunities for more than 70 non-technical minors.
The Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems is a federation of more than 200 businesses and institutions that collaborate on sustainable innovations to improve built and urban environments. Members of the Syracuse CoE federation work on research, development and educational projects relating to clean and renewable energy, indoor environmental quality and water resources.