University of Northern Iowa Schindler Education Center

Project Information

  • Owner

    State of Iowa Board of Regents

  • Location

    Cedar Falls, IA

  • Architect

    DLR Group

  • General Contractor


  • Engineer

    DLR Group

  • Square Footage


  • Baker Group Scope


As University of Northern Iowa prepares for the future and focuses on sustainability goals across campus, the Schindler Education Center has been transformed into a highly efficient facility designed for LEED certification. Baker Group provided the comprehensive mechanical-HVAC-plumbing upgrade.

Identifying the right energy-efficient solutions
The Schindler Education Center was originally built in two parts during the 1970s. To fulfill UNI’s vision for this renovation, the six-story north wing has been renovated with classrooms, offices, restrooms and a mechanical room, and the four-story south wing has been renovated with three auditoriums, green room, café, lounge, offices, restrooms and two mechanical rooms.  The entire facility has been updated into an energy-efficient structure that provides a high level of comfort for faculty and students.

To identify the best of many potential solutions – with a wide range of costs – Baker Group first listened carefully to UNI and its maintenance staff on specific needs and goals. Those drove the ultimate mechanical and piping upgrade, which involved Baker Group’s design-assist services, building information modeling (BIM)/preconstruction services, prefabrication, HVAC, sheet metal and 24/7/365 customer service. Some specific solutions included:

  • Upgrading the building’s exterior envelope by installing radiant heating tubes around the perimeter.
  • Piping the campus’s excess steam production to a new absorption chiller, which now uses that steam to chill water for Schindler Education Center and another building.
  • Installing a highly efficient HVAC system, which included dedicated air handling units (AHUs) to serve specific building zones, variable air volume (VAV) boxes to help balance and modulate air distribution, and a dedicated outdoor air system with an energy recovery wheel and chilled beam system.

Precision planning deflects unexpected costs and time delays
“In certain areas, the above-ceiling space was very tight, yet would need to accommodate all the sprinklers, electrical work, HVAC ducts and mechanical piping,” says Jeff Jordan, Project Manager with Baker Group.

“Sticking to the schedule and containing costs were critical. Therefore, before construction began Baker Group led extensive field verification, design-assist services and BIM, which guided all involved MEP trades. This allowed each one to accurately plan and install their systems,” Jordan says.

Meeting the client’s expectations
Jordan adds, “We had – and met – an aggressive design and construction schedule. We had an experienced team that did an excellent job preparing, organizing and executing all aspects of this extensive renovation.”

And, says Jordan, “We did it all by working closely with UNI and keeping their goals top-of-mind. Next semester (spring 2017), faculty and students will enjoy a much more comfortable building, and UNI will begin to realize significant savings.”

Click here to learn more about the Schindler Education Center Renovation, view floor plans and “fly” through and around the center.

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