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Clemson working with Moss on new genetics center

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By Matthew Clark
mclark@scbiznews.com
Published Feb. 22, 2016

A 17,000-square-foot life sciences lab facility is on track to be completed this summer in Greenwood.

Officials with Clemson University and Moss & Associates said the new Clemson University Center for Human Genetics in Greenwood is on pace to start occupancy in June. The new center is on a 16.7-acre tract next to Greenwood Genetic Center’s research campus.

A 17,000-square-foot life sciences lab facility is on track to be completed this summer in Greenwood. (Photo provided)A 17,000-square-foot life sciences lab facility is on track to be completed this summer in Greenwood. (Photo provided)
“It is kind of a unique site, and it is part of a larger center at the Greenwood Genetics Center,” said Paul Borick, project manager for the capital projects department at Clemson. “Our researchers will work alongside the researchers at that center.”

For Moss & Associates, the project started more than a year ago with the filing of a state procurement document just to be considered for the $5.8 million construction project. Steve Foushee, executive manager of the Carolinas Division for Moss and a Clemson graduate, said the specialized design-build project has presented new challenges, especially in regard to energy efficiency.

The facility, once completed, is expected to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver certification and will feature a new electronic system that can control the tinting of exterior glass.

“Even though it is a little building, there are a lot of really cool design elements,” Foushee said.

The new system includes the ability to control the tinting of exterior glass as the sun moves around the building during the day. The system is meant to reduce solar gain on the building’s exterior, leading to the potential of lower energy costs. The system will be installed by View Dynamic Glass and will be linked to internal lighting controls to increase efficiency. Foushee said individual rooms will have the capability to have exterior glass tinting controlled via smartphone.

In another move to promote energy efficiency, Clemson officials elected to have the building thermally controlled and have LED lighting throughout.

“Clemson wanted to be a part of this overall complex but we wanted to have our own earmark that made us stand out, and Moss really made us stand out,” Borick said. “They understood the image and the overall package included the qualifications and the understanding of the project.”

The center will include laboratory space, offices, and seminar and conference rooms. According to the university, it will also support the expansion of genetic research, including current programs in autism and cognitive development. There will be up to eight research teams and graduate students participating in the joint-taught doctoral program in genetics.

“This new building is an important link in the collaborative research with the Greenwood Genetic Center,” said Karl Kelly, the center’s director during a groundbreaking ceremony in October. “We are expanding our research capabilities in Greenwood and Clemson to pursue novel diagnostics and therapeutics in autism, cognitive development and a range of genetic disorders. These new labs are critically important in recruiting new research talent to Greenwood.”

Another component of the project has been the work with the staff at the Greenwood Genetics Center. The center was founded in 1974 and is a nonprofit organization that, according to its website, provides “clinical genetic services, diagnostic laboratory testing, educational programs and resources, and research in the field of medical genetics. Borick said the plans have always included the possibility of sharing facilities with outside researchers, because of the partnership with Greenwood Genetics Center.

“This is a partnership arrangement with Greenwood Genetic Center and there is always a chance that one of these labs will be shared with other entities,” Borick said.

Foushee said the process of working on Moss’ first academic laboratory project at Clemson has been seamless. Moss most recently completed an academic lab for Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

“It has been wonderful,” Foushee said. “A design-built project can be difficult to get all the necessary buy-ins to get construction, but with Clemson they have been very understanding and able to make quick decisions.

“It has been a goal of mine to get a project for Clemson and I’m hoping this is a transition to being a great client for us.”

For Clemson, the new University Center for Human Genetics in Greenwood is just one in a line of construction projects being undertaken in what is one of the largest construction phases in the university’s history.

“While it may not be on campus, this is certainly part of the whole program to elevate academics and research at the university,” said Robin Denny, director of media relations at Clemson.

Reach Matthew Clark at 864-235-5677, ext. 107, or @matthewclark76 on Twitter.

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