Boise, Idaho | Higher Education

Boise State University
Micron Center for Materials Science Research

$50 M | 90,000 SF

Cator, Ruma & Associates was selected to provide full mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and technology design and contract administration for the new materials science building at Boise State University. The new building consists of teaching spaces, research laboratories, computational laboratories, faculty offices, one (1) 250-seat lecture hall, and two (2) 80-seat classrooms.

  • Optimized energy performance
  • Energy monitoring and utility measuring displayed strategically throughout building
  • Water-cooled chiller plant



Cator, Ruma & Associates designed this building to optimize energy performance while maintaining safety for the occupants and operators. Energy monitoring and utility measuring were provided at each floor and at logical divisions in the building. Utility meters inclded air, chilled water, process chilled water, heating water, domestic and industrial water, and electrical power. These outputs are displayed to occupants on electronic signage for educational and energy-use-reduction purposes.

Five Air Handling Units (AHUs) were designed. Three (3) are for the laboratory spaces, one (1) for the office and administrative spaces, and one (1) for the auditorium and large classroom spaces. A new water-cooled chiller plant was built in the Penthouse to accommodate the cooling load of the building, with two (2) 250-ton chillers. The chiller plant is being provided with partial redundancy by having two chillers to meet the building load, which also offers better part load control.

A laboratory vacuum system and laboratory compressed air system were provided for the building. Specialty gases, including nitrogen gas, liquid nitrogen, and carbon dioxide gas, are piped from cylinder manifolds to the outlets within specific laboratories. Type II DI/RO water is circulated through the building to pure water outlets and point of use outlets that can then be piped to DI Polishers, provided by user groups.

Electrical power design supports the occupant-required equipment and general and specific power requirements. Back-up power will be addressed for occupant safety during primary power outages. Lighting design is included for all interior spaces within the building, and addresses the limited site layout.

Technology design includes IT room design, cable tray distribution, access control infrastructure, video surveillance, CAT 6A copper cabling, and wireless access points (WAPs).

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