The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, August 15, 2014

New and much-improved Jamrich Hall opens at NMU

By Marty Mulcahy, Editor

MARQUETTE – The new Jamrich Hall is open for education.

A 16-month construction process resulted in the completion of the new hall on the campus of Northern Michigan University. The new three-story, 133,000 square-foot building will include classroom, lecture hall and administrative space. The building will replace the existing John X. Jamrich hall (1969), which is currently being demolished nearby, and the aging Gries Hall, which the university said is scheduled for the same fate.

Miron Construction acted as construction manager on the $33.4 million project. Together with their subcontractors, the project put to work about 116 Hardhats at peak employment.

“It’s going to be a great building for the university, it features great work by the trades, and it’s a great showcase for Miron Construction,” said Miron Project Manager Luke Oberdorfer. “But above all, the people who are going to use the building, the students, faculty and administrative workers, are the ones who will benefit most. It’s a tremendous building.”

Northern Michigan said the original plan was to renovate Jamrich Hall.  “However, during the design process, the university concluded that greater efficiencies would be achieved through the construction of a new facility,” a project description from NMU said. The new building will actually reduce the overall net square footage on campus by 17,000 square feet, while reducing construction costs by $500,000, and lowering operating costs by $100,000.

Completed just in time for the fall 2014 semester, university staff were moving into their new digs the last week of July, just as the trades were completing final punch-list items.  Students are set to start classes on Aug. 26.

Prior to construction, Northern Michigan performed a university-wide analysis of facility use for both academic and administrative spaces. They analyzed classroom utilization, and evaluated how well the campus classrooms met the emerging demands associated collaborative learning.

The building includes 24 high-tech classrooms and seven informal learning spaces dispersed throughout the building. The building will have wi-fi throughout, and include use of audio-visual technologies including projection screens students can use in conjunction with their laptops.

The space in the building, NMU says, is “highly flexible and adaptable to changing technologies teaching methods.” Four academic programs will be housed in the building, including English, Math, Sociology and Criminal Justice.

NMU is seeking a “Silver” LEED certification for the building, which will include thermal efficiency materials, plenty of natural light, and energy conserving tactics. The new building’s heating and cooling system ties into the university’s chilled water and steam loop systems.

The project proceeded under a MIOSHA construction partnership, the first in the Upper Peninsula. It included enhanced safety standards, including 100 percent fall protection over 6 feet, use of 100 percent personal protective equipment, and project-specific safety orientation.

“The tradespeople were excellent to work with,” Oberdorfer said. “We were able to plan and coordinate with them, and especially the electrical, plumbing and mechanical trades, it was impressive to watch them and work with them.

ENERGY-EFFICIENT, with flexible space and lots of technology, Northern Michigan University’s new Jamrich Hall opens this month. Photos by Jack Deo

MAKING SPARKS FLY on a pipe at the Northern Michigan University’s Jamrich Hall project is Ray Ramsden of Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Local 111. He is employed by Dressler Mechanical.