Hach Hall improves campus chemistry expansion

Carmen Leng

Hach Hall, the newest building on campus, houses chemistry department labs and research areas. Hach will be innovative and cost efficient, helping to boost research and lower energy costs for the university.

The addition of Hach Hall is an essential asset to the ISU campus for two reasons: Gilman Hall is not big enough for the entire chemistry department due to the increase of students enrolled in classes, and its ventilation systems are no longer working as efficiently as needed.

“The biggest problem with Gilman Hall is the infrastructure does not support ventilation to vent out toxic fumes that are generated in synthetic chemistry,” said Jacob Petrich, professor and chairman of chemistry.

The ventilation system utilities cost is an issue with Gilman because of their enormous upkeep demands.

“Out of the entire Liberal Arts and Sciences utility bill last year, a quarter of the bill was coming from Gilman Hall,” said Arne Hallam, associate dean of LAS.

When it comes to utility charges, the LAS department pays for 101,652 square feet of Gilman ventilation costs. In 2010, for just LAS, the total cost per square-foot for Gilman was an astounding $12.22.

In comparison to Gilman’s prices, Bessey Hall only costs the LAS department $5.87 per square-foot at a total of 54,533 square feet.

“We need to have a building that has efficient, clean and well-functioning ventilation systems for the chemistry labs,” Hallam said.

Hach Hall was designed to eliminate the ventilation issues experienced in Gilman. The addition will emphasize laboratory space for synthetic and organic chemistry, undergraduate labs and general chemistry teaching labs.

“With the enrollment at Iowa State growing, there is a heavier concentration on chemistry classes, which required more laboratories,” Hallam said.

The structure consists of four floors, each specific:

Basement: physical and analytical research laboratories

First Floor: public areas, teaching functions, chemical instrumentation facilities

Second and Third Floors: synthetic research laboratories

The building has been certified gold according to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design criteria.

“It is as green as a chemistry building can get, and part of what makes it so efficient is that it has enormous windows, so there is a lot of natural lighting into the building,” Petrich said.

The funding for Hach Hall came from Hach family, $10 million; the Roy J. Carver trust, $4.5 million; private donations from families in Iowa, $15.6 million; and the state contributed remaining expenses. All in all, it totaled a $74.5 million addition to the science department and campus.

“The building was very important to the university to maintain the best faculty and hire new faculty,” Petrich said. “Before the hole was being dug in the ground for Hach Hall, just the promise of having that building kept our best faculty here and allowed us to hire the best on the market.”