Renovating Doherty Hall for the 21st CenturyOver the past two years, the department has gone through several stages of planning for the renovation of Doherty Hall. The work is beginning as this document is being written. Doherty Hall was originally constructed in 1908 and the front annex to the building was added in the 1950's. The age of the building has left the physical infrastructure for research and teaching in poor shape. Two happy developments have allowed Carnegie Mellon to take steps towards the renovation of Doherty Hall over the next two years. The first has been the development of the new undergraduate laboratories in the west end wing of the building. These were completed two years ago allowing the undergraduate laboratories to move out of the first three floors of the east end wing. The second is the gift of funds by Mr. Bill Gates to create a new building for Computer Science. This has helped to nucleate the current Carnegie Mellon campus building program that includes the renovation of the east end of Doherty Hall that is occupied by Chemical Engineering.
Carnegie Mellon is committed to spending $27M to renovate the east end of Doherty Hall with funds to come in part from bonds and in part from fund raising activities. These efforts will create modern laboratory space for teaching and research, student office space and badly needed upgrades to the building's infrastructure. These will vastly improve our ability to recruit the best students and the brightest young faculty. Needless to say, we sincerely hope that our alumni will help the university in this project.
We have adopted a modern philosophy in developing the renovation plans for Doherty Hall. Space for research labs has always been at a premium, as it is on almost all campuses, and is difficult to manage efficiently as it tends to be assigned to individual research groups or specific research activities. Four floors of the east end wing will be renovated into large, wide open research labs of about 3500 - 4000 square feet each. These are to be shared among the research groups in Complex Fluids Engineering, Biochemical Engineering, Energy Science and Engineering and the Envirochemical Engineering. The shared nature of these labs will allow much easier re-assignment and modification of laboratory space as research projects ebb and flow. Furthermore, we expect that it will foster a much more collaborative and interdisciplinary culture for the students working in this environment.
The renovation of Doherty Hall is perhaps the most exciting development for Chemical Engineering in many decades. We expect the project to be completed about two years from now and invite all our friends and alumni to visit to see the transformation in progress. Below you will find some pictures of the building as it evolved over the course of time from its beginnings in 1908. In addition our architects have generated several detailed renderings of the labs in their expected form on completion in 2008.