In January 2014, the University of Delaware’s Health Sciences Complex became the first new construction project to open as part of a 272-acre redevelopment at the site of a former automotive and U.S. military tank assembly plant.

Collaborating with local architects, Tevebaugh Associates (Wilmington, Del.), this new, two‐story, 103,000-square-foot adaptive reuse project creates a contemporary look and image for the university, while symbolizing the gateway to the STAR (Science, Technology and Advanced Research) Campus.

The main objective of the wellness facility is to promote healthy lifestyles on campus and in the community by offering healthcare, education, research, and physical therapy under one roof to students, staff, and the public.

To use the brownfield site, a vapor barrier with geo‐vents was inserted beneath the building slab to prevent any infiltration of gases into the facility.

Another challenge on the project was reusing a portion of the original assembly plant, which required the design team to accommodate a 2‐story reinforced concrete structural grid of 20-foot-by-20-foot bays. As a solution, each bay was further divided into a 10-foot dimension and again into a 5-foot planning grid, which created the office layouts and the window placement respectively.

These supplementary spaces are connected by a wide central corridor, which promotes interaction and collaboration among professionals, researchers, students, and patients. Large‐scale original trusswork and portions of the existing exposed brick were preserved and updated, including hand-painted murals that were framed in place to highlight the building’s history.

To improve the size and layout of the teaching areas, 45-foot clear-span spaces were added on the north and east sides of the building. These new wings radiate out from a curved corner in the student commons, which provides a primary view into the building from the entrance drive and takes advantage of a predominately northern exposure. Masonry was used to balance and anchor these large expanses of glass and enclose an event space capable of seating up to 150 people.

The building also houses a physical therapy clinic, nurse managed health clinic, collaborative research laboratories, flexible teaching spaces, and multiple conference areas.

To accommodate specialized equipment in the BADER Lab and other treadmill labs, isolated slabs were poured at precise heights to account for a smooth transition at finished floor level and to reduce vibrations from surrounding equipment. Custom fall protection harnesses are anchored into the structure above to provide safety and stability to patients during therapy.

As part of the project, an adjacent 75,000-square-foot building is under construction and will house private offices for medical professionals.


Project Information

Name: University of Delaware, Health Sciences Complex

Location: Newark, Del.

Construction Complete: January 2014

Architect: Tevebaugh Associates

Developer: Delle Donne & Associates

Construction Manager: Bancroft Construction

Photography: Jordan Fugeman Photography