As part of a larger $37.6 million redevelopment of the 50-year-old facility, WalterFedy completed an extensive renovation and reorganization of laboratories throughout the Alexander Hall building to create the new Environmental Cluster. The completed facility serves as home to the new School of Environmental Sciences (SES), and provides space for Ontario Agricultural College programs and for water research by the School of Engineering. Topics of interest to SES faculty and students include forest systems management; reduced risk crop protection strategies; soil management and conservation; water resource management; bioremediation; climate change; and ecotoxicology and environmental microbiology.
The laboratory component involved comprehensive updates to all of the original 1950s labs to create modern wet and dry labs that suit current and future needs. We began with a detailed audit of the facility and meetings with the user groups, compiling a building program, room data sheets, and equipment lists for each lab. This process also included labs from the Richards Building that would be relocated to the Environmental Cluster.
The result of our work is a series of multipurpose labs (designed to various biohazard levels) that have been configured to suit specific research purposes, yet retain flexibility to adapt to future needs. Equipment ranges from growth chambers and plant-drying ovens to diamond saws and flame-atomic absorption spectrometers, as well as walk-in freezers, coolers, and temperature/light/humidity-controlled chambers.