The University of Houston System at Sugar Land partnered with Wharton County Junior College (WCJC) to design and construct Brazos Hall, a 150,000-square-foot academic building that will serve the educational needs of both institutions. The $30 million facility includes 39 classrooms, nine science labs, a 157-seat auditorium, computer labs, a COST PER SQ FT$202.00FEATURED IN2009 Architectural Portfolio suite shared by both institutions and exercise facilities. The design team stacked similar functions on the upper floors and created "suites" of science labs, classrooms and faculty offices to increase efficiency and assist in wayfinding for students and faculty.
Special consideration was given to the mechanical systems. Three air-cooled chillers serving air handlers deliver conditioned air to fan-powered variable-air-volume (VAV) boxes. The building includes many energy-saving features, including energy-recovery outdoor-air units that recover 80 percent of the energy contained in the exhaust air; variable-flow primary chilled water flow; and VAV zoning system. The laboratories use state-of-the-art air-control devices to protect occupants from harmful substances.