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BSC Comm & Arts Center

Bismarck State College
Communication & Creative Arts Center
Bismarck, North Dakota

Project Description:

This project included a new building to house the library, add more classrooms, and add more offices for the communications and creative arts departments.

The first floor of the communications and creative arts center houses the library and communications section along with beautiful study areas and classrooms. While the mechanical systems aren’t as complex on this floor, it does showcase the abilities of one of Obernel’s lighting specialists, Ken McCleary.

Pottery and ceramics are located on the second floor. The clay mixing area has a dust collection system, floor with a special membrane to allow for being completely washed down and accessible drains with plaster traps were built in to allow for cleaning.

Designing for the four kilns on this floor was somewhat of a challenge for Obernel’s team because they had to account for the high heat release. The second floor also has spray booths giving artists the opportunity to apply effects both pre- and post- kiln-fire, which required special exhaust systems.

The third floor is home to jewelry making, sculpture, woodworking, print-making, and toxic material storage. Woodworking, jewelry and toxic material storage all needed special exhaust systems to control the environment for safe operation.

Perhaps the most unique mechanical feature of this building is the absence of a boiler room. Not having it located within the building allowed for more space for classrooms and offices. The boiler room is actually located within Schafer Hall and not only serves these two buildings, but also Werner Hall – the dormitory next door which housed the art department.

There are three, high-efficiency, gas-fired boilers located within Schafer Hall which act as a central heat plant for the three buildings. These buildings are connected via skywalk which is great for students in the middle of northern winters.

What’s even better, though, is the fact that the mechanical design team was able to connect all of the piping for heating via the skywalks too. Ken Schwartz, a mechanical engineer for Obernel, said “it’s a very good project for Bismarck State College and for Bismarck.”

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