ARCO Construction Co. intends to complete the Analytical Bio-Chemistry Laboratories headquarters on March 11, and in April the company will begin moving into a sophisticated building that President Byron Hill called “the model of efficiency.”
ABC Labs will be the first tenant at the University of Missouri’s research park, Discovery Ridge, along U.S. 63 at the Gans Creek interchange, now under construction. Boone County agreed to cut the company’s property taxes in half during the next 10 years to keep its swiftly growing operation here.
The company’s executives say the building more than doubles its capacity. Because ABC’s goals involve doubling annual revenue to $50 million by 2010 and increasing employment from about 300 to 500, the building was designed to be expandable.
ARCO, based in St. Louis, used more than a dozen local subcontractors for the $14.5 million project.
ABC Labs, currently operating on ABC Lane off Interstate 70 and in numerous leased buildings around Columbia, provides analytical chemistry services and support to the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.
ARCO officials say it typically costs about $250 per square foot or more to build laboratory space, but the company built the 90,000-square-foot building to ABC Labs for $161 per square foot. “The expansion was absolutely necessary to keep up with the growth of our business,” Hill said. “We are very, very fortunate to have ARCO deliver what we needed at a cost significantly lower than expected.”
The building has approximately 60,000 square feet of versatile analytical lab and support space and 30,000 square feet of office space. Each lab module has an office set outside, and lab space is mobile so that research equipment can be moved to accommodate changing environments and new technologies. The building is sited to accommodate an additional 33,000 square feet.
The building features:
• Four labs at the building’s core, with 25 fume hoods channeling air to exhaust fans that vent the building.
• A storage suite where controllers can implement a wide range of controlled environmental conditions for testing the stability of pharmaceutical products.
• A centralized power center where workers will control the building’s specialized electrical, ionized water and high-purity gas piping.
• A 1,600-square-foot blast-resistant chemical storage room with eight-inch-thick concrete walls and a subterranean 5,000-gallon containment tank
• A main lobby, private offices and multi-functional training space.
• Interior windows designed for a tour route that will maximize safety without disturbing work by employees.
“Tours are a very important part of our business,” Hill said. “We average over a tour a week with clients from all over the globe. This is a wonderful, effective display situation for us.”
Some of the building’s other features include multiple perimeter windows to allow natural light, occupancy sensor lights in the rooms, card readers to monitor employee location, and chemical and stain-resistant Medintech flooring and Trespa countertops. Utilities in several of the rooms are accessible from the ceiling, so spaces can be reconfigured as needed.
ARCO estimates that it saved ABC $500,000 by reconfiguring the HVAC system, which includes two 250-ton air cooled rotary chilled coolers that work with two outside air rooftop units in order to provide the lab with 100 percent outside air.
“The HVAC system is about 30 percent of the cost of the building,” said Troy DeVault, ABC operations and project manager.
Custom-made computer center
Like the specialized places in the rest of the building, the document control/ data/computer server center, located at the building’s core, also contains unusual features. The room is equipped with security systems to meet strict regulations for research labs.
“In the computer server room we designed a special HFC 125 fire support system, which launches chemical-charged bottles to suck the oxygen from the room,” said Tim Koyn, superintendent and design/ build contractor for ARCO. “It’s also backed up with an uninterrupted power supply.”
The building’s systems are fully automated and can be adjusted offsite via the Internet. Utilities run through about half the height of the structure’s 20-foot ceiling, rather than exterior walls, to facilitate future expansion on the site’s additional 33,000 square feet.
ABC Labs plans to start moving into the building in April, a process expected to take four months.