Awarded the design bid in September, the Elmhurst firm, partnered with the Floral Park-based contractor, Scorcia & Diana Associates, had until mid-February to replace 3,000 square-feet of brooms, boxes and dusty erlenmeyer flasks with polished counter-tops, gas plumbing, ultra-low temp refrigerators and a dark room for microscopic image processing.One specific difficulty during construction, which began over Christmas, was ventilating such a subterranean location that would often be filled with gaseous fumes, according to Graf."While not a particularly large project, it nevertheless posed several unique challenges that allowed our firm to demonstrate its expertise in the field of bio/pharmaceutical laboratory design," he said.The lab, to be shared by three professors to "cross-pollinate" research and teaching resources, is the first step in St. John's ambitious $20 million master plan to restructure their aging five-story St. Albert's Hall, which holds the pharmacy school.Other on-campus projects Graf & Lewent have done for St. John's include the Freshman Center, the administration office and the security command station.The firm, which specializes in university and laboratory work also designed a lab currently under construction at City University of New York's Baruch College and has a project lined up at Manhattan's New York Institute of Technology. each reporter Zach Patberg by e-mail at news@times
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