UNT Facilities Team Contributing to UNT Research Growth

In 2015, the University of North Texas received the honor of being ranked among the nation’s 115 top-tier universities from Carnegie’s Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. This achievement is considered one of the most significant steps in the evolution of a research university and marks a key milestone in UNT’s commitment toward national prominence, according to a web article from the Office of the President.

UNT leads the region as one of the state’s top universities in awarding doctoral degrees annually. In part, this comes from having the materials and resources to conduct research. This summer, UNT Facilities has been planning modifications and improving a variety of research spaces to keep the universities’ research efforts progressing.

At Discovery Park, a water chiller was installed to cool a helium compressor that serves a cryovac system.  The cryovac system is designed to lower environmental temperature in a tank to -471.3 degrees Fahrenheit, which is only 1.7 degrees Kelvin above absolute zero. This equipment supports metals and materials research for a distinguished research professor at the College of Engineering. 

“UNT Facilities, working closely with the research team, has installed a custom chiller, plumbing, and electrical connections,” said Facilities engineer Scott Harris.

Several lab projects at Discovery Park are in finishing phases or recently concluded.  A biomedical lab was modified in the D-Wing and more work in that wing will support a new professor for material science. The E-wing saw a project that added fume hoods, power and research gasses, all related to new material development.

Discovery Park Lab

On the main campus, the Department of Psychology is also working to keep UNT highly ranked.  Planning is underway for a renovation which will create an isolated lab for testing on the effects of smoking. The lab is scheduled to be finished this fall.

“The lab will have stand-alone air handling units which will bring in 100% outside air to exhaust in and out of the lab,” said Harris.

In the same facility, Campus Planning Manager, Kim Nguyen has been working on a lab space to support research on medical professionals and the impacts of non-standard sleeping schedules.  This work will also wrap up in the fall.

The completion of a major renovation to the Science Research Building (SRB) by the UNT System Office of Facilities Construction created more opportunities for the UNT Facilities team to support research.  Equipment installations and custom modifications for special processes took up much of this summer with more work planned for this fall.

Planning and design efforts are in progress on upgrades to fume hoods in portions of the Life Science A Building as well as a possible upgrades to the entire fourth floor. Additionally, scoping is underway for a new greenhouse adjacent to the SRB.

According to David Reynolds, Associate Vice President for Facilities, research projects are some of the most difficult projects to accomplish. 

“Technical complexity of unique pieces of equipment and the processes they support create an extra hurdle of communication that estimators and designers must work through with researchers,” said Reynolds. "While a researcher may have experience with a piece of equipment, often our project is the first time our designers and contractors have seen such equipment. That creates a need for communication on a level beyond other renovations on campus. Often it takes a lot of back and forth, which frankly can be exasperating to the researchers but is critical to ensuring an operational facility”. 

UNT’s research status as a Carnegie Institution Tier One Research University is a proud accomplishment. The Facilities team working with research staff hope to contribute to UNT being recognized as a National Research University.

The Facilities Department’s goal is to keep students, faculty, and staff informed and up-to-date on ongoing construction so please watch for a series of articles this regarding construction. These articles will go into detail about how these topics affect you and how it is changing our Mean Green campus.  Additionally, please visit the monthly Facilities Construction Obstruction Report for graphics, maps and info on projects visible around the campus.

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If you need to place a work order or maintenance assistance, please call Work Control at 940-565-2700 or visit https://facilities.unt.edu/