This story was written and published by veteran Palm Beach County reporter Joel Engelhardt and FAU Journalism Editor-in-Chief Jessica Abramski.

The $35 million building that opened in January on Florida Atlantic University’s Jupiter Campus suddenly closed at the end of July and could remain closed for six months.

FAU officials have not commented on the reason for the sudden eviction of Stiles-Nicholson Brain Institute Just six months after those responsible declared it a “beacon of hope” that “heralds a new era in neuroscience research, education, and community engagement.”

But the memo, obtained by FAU University Press and shared with Stet Media Group, which covers Palm Beach County, indicates that the building’s air handling system was forced to shut down.

Our current state is moving occupants (by 7/30/23) and then the animals (as soon as possible) because the building pressure is unstable and any condition that shuts down the HVAC system (fire alarm, power fluctuations, etc.) causes the potential for entrapment,” Wendy Ash Graves, director of FAU’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety, wrote to colleagues on July 29, Saturday.

Phone calls to a number of university officials involved in the decision and the university’s media relations office were not answered. But industry experts say the note indicates that ventilation and air-conditioning problems may be behind the shutdown.

The pressure inside the building became so strong that people became trapped in the rooms because they couldn’t open the doors, said a person who works in the building but declined to be identified for fear of his job to the university’s printing press.

One of the engineers who reviewed the note said this would be particularly troublesome during rest hours, when animals kept in a room could be deprived of fresh air.

He said: “The building is a living organism, and it seems that they have spoiled the lungs.”

An email came from Graves in response To an email sent the same Saturday By Sylvia Gaugrave, Associate Vice President for Research in the Division of Comparative Medicine.

My staff encountered some angry students who blamed CM (Comparative medicine) to destroy their studies, geograph wrote. “It will be important to communicate with all stakeholders including students, postdocs, etc. what is really going on and why we need to get out of the facility sooner rather than later.

“It seems like a lot of information has been leaked, but only to specific researchers, and rumors run wild.”

Maintaining constant conditions is critical to animal research, and moving them around during an experiment can disrupt or cancel months of work.

However, the university did not issue a press release to explain the closing of the building, which took $35 million in state funds and siphoned off $10 million toward programming from the Jupiter Foundation. David JS Nicholson.

Three-story building with an area of ​​58,000 square feet The university said in a brief emailed statement that the university was “undergoing an assessment of its building services systems due to some apparent malfunctions.” First reported by University Press On August 4th.

“With great caution, most of the building’s occupants have moved to alternative locations. … Preliminary estimates suggest the project could take up to six months, but it is too early to say a specific time frame.

University spokesman Joshua Glanzer did not take phone calls from State, instead diverting an introductory email into a public records request, which was not fulfilled after five days.

Hundreds of people and 70 mice

The university offered the building to the Board of Governors of the Florida State University System at a 2017 workshop as a way to “allow FAU to become an equal partner on the Jupiter campus with Scripps and Max Planck,” the two science powers that were recruited for Jupiter by the then-governor. Jeb Bush in the mid-2000s.

The university told its board that it would support positions for 20 principal investigators and faculty, more than 20 faculty and postdoctoral researchers, more than 40 graduate students and more than 60 undergraduate students.

As such, the building also housed animals living in a barn, creating a natural habitat that would otherwise be at risk due to air mechanics issues. Gografe’s email indicated the need to transport about 70 mice to the university’s Boca Raton campus.

The contractor was DPR Construction

One of the two contractors who built the adjacent Max Planck Florida Institute in 2009, in Redwood City, California-based DPR Construction CompanyA spokeswoman for the union said the company completed work on the unit building on November 22 and referred all questions to the unit.

Also in November, the building was approved State Inspection of the Fire Police And I got it Occupancy certificate From an FAU Building Code official, reveal documents submitted to the University Press.

While the building is located in Jupiter, the town is not overseeing its construction, and city officials said in mid-August that they were unaware of the building’s closure.

The FAU Pacifica Engineering Services consultant in Delray Beach oversaw the construction and construction inspections Consider the building to have passed the code In October 2022, the documents reveal.

Houston-based firm PGAL Architects beat out four other firms in 2018 to win the right to design the building. University documents online Displays.

BR+A is a Boston-based engineering consulting firm Take credit on their website For the structural engineering of the building.

No list of subcontractors on the job was immediately provided by FAU.

Visualization of brain cells

The first floor of the building is home to the Center for Modeling Brain Diseases, the university announced in a press release upon the building’s opening on January 19.

Her studies of brain disorders include Alzheimer’s disease, autism, addiction and brain cancer. The space doubled the FAU’s ability to perform physiological and behavioral analyses.

The university said that the second floor houses the basic laboratory for advanced cell imaging, where brain cells are imaged. It also contains over $1 million worth of equipment and houses one of 14 Nikon Centers of Excellence in the country.

The statement said the third floor is equipped to support researchers whose studies link molecular, cellular and computational neuroscience. The space was also created to support the advanced training of high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in computational biology, chemistry, and neuroscience.

Student training played an important role in Nicholson’s gift of $10 million, which established the Foundation Styles-Nicholson Academy of Science, Technology, Engineering, and MathFAU, which works with middle and high school teachers and students, will provide STEM training programs for teachers through FAU High School on the Jupiter campus, said FAU. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Nicholson, a hedge fund manager Styles-Nicholson Foundation in 1992 to honor his father, William Stiles, and his stepfather, William Nicholson. He did not return calls to the foundation seeking comment.

If you have been personally affected by this building closure, send an email (email protected) to share your experience. We’d love to hear from you.

This story also appeared, with permission, on August 28 in the digital editions of and the State Media Group.

Jessica Abramski is the editor-in-chief of University Press. For more information about this article or others, you can contact Jessica at (email protected) or send her a direct message on Instagram @jessabramsky.

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