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A New HVAC System for BU’s Scientists

Metcalf Science Center closed until August 15


Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

The Metcalf Science Center, located at 590 Commonwealth Ave., will be closed for the next six weeks as the climate control system (HVAC) for the building is replaced. The closure, which will last until August 15, affects students, staff, and faculty affiliated with the physics, biology, and chemistry departments.

“We are shutting down the labs because, from day one, the HVAC system was undersized for the building, and now it’s over 20 years old,” says Colleen McGinty, executive director of construction services in the Office of Facilities Management and Planning. “On the most humid days, the building wasn’t cool enough, and the HVAC unit was also the source of many leaks into building.”

An HVAC system allows air to properly circulate throughout a building, getting rid of moisture and contaminants. “These labs and classrooms need exhaust and conditioned air,” McGinty says.

The new HVAC unit is already in place on top of the building, and the next step is removing the old unit. McGinty says the new unit is three times the size of the current one, so engineers had to make adjustments to the building’s roof to ensure that it could hold the additional weight. The facility must close, according to Boston city code building regulations, which mandate that a building cannot be occupied without a working HVAC system.

Physics, chemistry and biology summer session classes have been rescheduled or moved to buildings on Cummington Street and Beacon Street.

Amy Laskowski can be reached at amlaskow@bu.edu.

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