Delivery Method: Design-Build
Owner: Syracuse University
Size: 20,000 SF
VIP Structures was enlisted to design and build a 20,000 SF facility just 3 miles from Syracuse University’s main campus. The cutting edge design is able to house the equivalent (in conventional library shelving terms) of 165,000 to 200,000 linear book feet by shelving items by size. Depending on the actual characteristics of the collections, the temperature and humidity controlled vault can hold over one million books, maps and multimedia materials.
A facility like this would typically cost $10-$12 million and be equipped with 30-foot tall rack storage, in-rack sprinklers, and an industrial mobile picker capable of carrying books and retrieval personnel thirty-feet high, with operators requiring special certification. This project cost was not feasible for the university; therefore, a 12-foot high automated compact shelving system was introduced by our design team as a cost saving measure, eliminating the need for in-rack sprinklers and the expensive industrial picker device. Designing the facility in this manner enabled the university to house the same number of materials in a building with the same footprint, but with less than half the height and cost of the current paradigm.
The climate-controlled vault is able to maintain a temperature of 50°F (+/-1°F) and 30% relative humidity (+/-5%). In order to achieve these environmental conditions, which are beyond the capability of standard HVAC equipment, desiccant technology was utilized in a package air handling system. The vault was also pressurized to avoid infiltration. Achieving such extreme conditions tends to result in high operating costs. To address this concern, a supplemental form of dehumidification known as hot gas reheat was used. This involves redirecting the refrigeration hot gas from the condensers to reheat coils, providing “free” heat. In addition, a fabric duct system was utilized to circulate air continuously, enabling equal air distribution throughout the vault, thus maintaining all documents to the highest standards.
This high-tech expandable building features the most modern technology for storing and retrieving enormous quantities of books in an economical and efficient manner, while at the same time providing a physically secure and optimum preservation environment for permanent and important parts of Syracuse University’s library collections.