Vivarium Renovation

University of Texas at Arlington Location: Arlington, Texas Square Footage: 15,000 Construction Cost: $3,000,000
The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA), a Tier I Research University, retained CRB to develop a barrier suite within its existing vivarium facility on the fifth floor of the Life Science Building. To attract researchers, UTA wanted to modify this space to accept germ-free rodents because they provide researchers with opportunities to compare them to non-germ-free rodents and introduce microorganisms one at a time.

In the spring of 2016, CRB investigated three options for modifying the existing vivarium spaces as part of a four-week feasibility study. In the fall of that year, CRB was direct-selected for full architectural/engineering and vivarium planning services and provided an expedited design schedule to maintain the owner’s required move-in date of fourth quarter 2017. All existing animals housed in the vivarium were temporarily relocated during construction, and the remainder of the Life Science Building remained in operation.

CRB developed a plan for approximately 15,000 square feet of UTA’s vivarium, including over 5,000 square feet of renovations to meet barrier facility requirements for germ-free rodents, as outlined by the National Institutes of Health and the Association for Assessment & Accreditation of Lab Animal Care. The project involved upgrading the existing architectural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire-protection systems to enable UTA to have a state-of-the-art barrier facility within its vivarium. Separate personnel, animal and material flows were accommodated in the design.

Personnel enter the barrier facility through a gowning room and air shower. Animals enter the barrier through a quarantine room and are transferred into the barrier facility at pass-through biosafety cabinet animal transfer stations. Materials are brought in via a pass-through decontamination misting tunnel and/or autoclave.

Mechanical systems were upgraded to comply with barrier facility requirements, including high-efficiency particulate air, redundancy and temperature and humidity control to within 2 degrees Fahrenheit.

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