Mary Washington College, Jepson Science Center

Fredericksburg, Virginia

  • FIRM

    Lukmire Partnership


    Mary Washington College

  • AREA

    72,000 sq.ft.





The new four-story Jepson Science Center provides teaching laboratories, research labs, classrooms and offices for undergraduate programs in biology, chemistry, physics, geology and environmental sciences. The program required the center blend with the traditional neo-Georgian campus of red brick and white columns, fitting in with the row of buildings along ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONASSOCIATED FIRMKCF/SHGCAPACITY1,032COST PER SQ FT$146.00CITATIONPost-Secondary CitationFEATURED IN1999 Architectural Portfolio Walk.

Building design places introductory laboratories on the first and second floors, with advanced instructional and undergraduate research laboratories and faculty offices on the third and fourth floors—all supported by a central 100-seat lecture room and two 60-station classrooms. Mechanical and electrical equipment is housed in the lower level and on the roof. A 200-square-foot planning module affords flexible instructional interchange, and incorporates the latest teaching tools, scientific instrumentation and information technology. All areas in the laboratories, including fume hoods and workstations, are handicapped-accessible.

The building incorporates instructional and individual study laboratories for each of the four departments. Chemistry includes organic and analytical chemistry laboratories, complemented by instrumentation areas. Geology includes mineralogy, petrology and mapping/imaging laboratories. Physics contains atomic physics, optics, mechanics and electronic laboratories. Biology includes biology, zoology, molecular biology and physiology laboratories, supplemented by small vivarium (animal-holding) facilities, a phytotron/herbarium and a greenhouse. Departments share lab prep and storage rooms.

Located at the north end of the campus, the building links the main pathways with a fountain, brick plaza, colonnaded porch and dramatic entry atrium. Entry occurs at the second floor, at the level of the existing campus walk. A carefully articulated brick and precast facade, metal roof-screen wall and chimneys, which house laboratory exhaust, adapt the campus’ neo-Georgian vocabulary and reduce the scale of the large floor plates.

Few projects present design challenges with as many difficult facets. The facility successfully marries the highly technical requirements for its widely varying laboratory types with general classroom, office and lecture space. In addition, it gracefully integrates state-of-the-art mechanical and electrical support systems within a historically rendered exterior sympathetic to its context.

The design includes energy-saving and environmentally sensitive solutions: ice storage for electric peak-demand limits, exhaust heat recovery to reduce fossil-fuel consumption, and chemical management in labs to reduce chemical discharge to sewers and air.

The building is served by two custom 52,000 CFM roof-mounted VAV air-handling units. The units contain glycol heat recovery coils connected through a run-around heat-recovery loop to heat- recovery coils located in the laboratory exhaust system. Steam is supplied through the college’s central system.