Margaret a. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building

Berea College

Project Name
Margaret a. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building
Berea College
Whole Building Commissioning
Completion Date
133,000 sq. ft.
Project Budget
The Problem

Berea College envisioned a state of the art instructional facility providing advanced science laboratories, nursing laboratories, interactive learning spaces, collaborative spaces, and a planetarium.

Berea is committed to environmental stewardship in their operations and in their construction. The Natural Sciences and Health Building is a LEED registered (pursuing certification) project.

Berea wanted to ensure building performance for their facility. Special attention was required by the building envelope system and it’s role in humidity control with the project’s chilled beam mechanical systems. In addition, the project scope included commissioning of all building systems, lab systems, and process systems.

  • The desired outcomes from commissioning this project include:
  • Providing a safe and healthy facility;
    Optimizing energy use;
  • Reducing operating costs;
  • Ensuring adequate O&M staff orientation and training; and
  • Improving installed building systems documentation.

Actions Taken

Beginning in early design, Paladin worked with Berea and the Design Team to identify robust Owner’s Project Requirements for the project.

From early design reviews through warranty phase performance reviews, system performance was verified, and corrective action items worked as a team.

Areas requiring special attention during testing included the custom manufactured windows. Upon initial test failure, the manufacturer, installing contractor, construction manager, commissioning provider, and owner representatives worked in combination to identify sources of water leakage. Field modifications as well as proper manufacturer installation details allowed the showpiece windows to be both beautiful as well as functional.

For the mechanical systems, the interplay between the central plant chilled water supply and chilled beam operating conditions required significant coordination in order to meet required differential pressure setpoint required to make the equipment function properly.

Extensive transition documentation and services encompassed custom designed system overview training sessions for Berea’s maintenance staff. Systems manuals, ongoing commissioning plans, equipment inventory lists, and equipment-specific preventative maintenance schedules complete the close-out documents provided by this commissioning process.


The results of the Project are a project targeting LEED Gold

Berea College installed a Nobel Prize—won by alumnus John Fenn ’37, for his notable work in chemistry—in the facility.