PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University will begin a $42-million renovation of the Metcalf laboratories for the newly formed Department of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences. When completed, the project will transform the Metcalf laboratories into an 81,000-square-foot space with new classrooms, laboratories, and numerous meeting and lounge areas to support the collaborative work of the department.
The renovation is part of the University’s Plan for Academic Enrichment, which includes an ambitious research agenda as well as a commitment to renovate and restore buildings of historic importance to the University. Upon completion, the building will receive LEED Silver certification, a third-party certification program and nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.
With a focus on the how the chemistry, physics, and biology of the brain become the functions of interpretation and understanding in the mind, the new Department of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences will be on the forefront of 21st-century science. As part of the expansion, the department will hire seven faculty members to provide additional teaching and research capacity organized into six intellectual and functional clusters: cognitive and behavioral neuroscience, development, perception and action, language and linguistics, personality and social psychology, and cognition.
“The leading-edge work of the new department requires a structure that allows for the seamless integration of educational, experimental and group activities,” said William Heindel, department chair and professor of cognitive, linguistic, and psychological sciences. “The completed Metcalf building will provide this space and give us the foundation we need.”
The decision to use the space at the Metcalf laboratories came after the University determined that a new building was not cost-effective given recent budgetary cuts. The renovation will incorporate two laboratories of historic importance: the Metcalf Chemistry Laboratory and Metcalf Research Laboratory. Architect Charles Klauder designed both buildings early in the 20th century; they exemplified the cutting edge of science and stimulated scholarship and research in chemistry. The University has named the firm of Leers Weinzapfel as architects for the renovation. The firm’s notable university projects include the MIT Media Lab and expansion of the Science Center at Harvard University. Dimeo Construction Co. will be the construction manager.
In an independent analysis of economic impact, Appleseed Inc. predicted that the project would create a total of 86 jobs both directly in construction and indirectly for subcontractors and vendors. It also estimated that the renovation will generate $21.6 million in economic output for Rhode Island.
The Metcalf renovation is part of an overall plan for Brown’s strategic growth, ensuring that University facilities provide optimal learning and research environments for faculty and students. The Metcalf renovation is part of a series of enrichment projects, including a major renovation in the Jewelry District to house the Warren Alpert Medical School and the purchase of 121 South Main Street to house the Program in Public Health. The Metcalf renovation began in June 2010 with an expected completion date of October 2011.