New Texas Tech residence hall project one of a kind - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

New Texas Tech residence hall project one of a kind

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A new building is beginning to take shape at 19th and Indiana, but it's not like any building that has been built in Lubbock.

"In simplified terms it's called ICF or Insulated Concrete Forms," said Michael Molina, Vice Chancellor of facilities for planning and construction at Texas Tech University.

"What you see when you drive by is a white building and it looks like a Styrofoam facility. The fact of the matter is that it is, but for a short time," said Molina. "Those are just pre-manufactured modularized units. They quick connect together according to the specific plan and design that we've put together."

The Styrofoam blocks are like Lego's for grownups. Each one has plastic connectors in the middle of the two Styrofoam pieces that hold the blocks together. In addition, there is space for metal rebar to be placed in specific locations which adds extra structural integrity.

"When it's first put up what's holding it up is the foam, but once the web is in, you fill all the voids with concrete," said Molina. "You fill all the voids at the lower level and you do it a single floor at a time when you're filling those out."

It's a process that can be completed much more quickly than in the past.

"This project will be delivered in about 16 1/2 months concept to keys. We were literally designing this structure just 16 1/2 months prior to the day kids sleep in the beds," said Molina. "We've shaved off about 60 days of typical red-iron construction here and waiting for past and manufacturing facilities in the east coast, west coast or other places in the country to ship here."

The project is also helping to improve Texas Tech's green initiative.

"It's about a 44% reduction in energy usage to heat the building and about a 32% reduction in energy to cool the building," said Molina.

The building will be completed and ready for use by the fall 2014 semester.

"It'll be a four story facility, each floor will have a two inch topping slab on top of the hollow core plank to create a perfectly level and smooth structure."

Construction has been in the process for 40 days. Molina believes as the project nears completion it will be another beautiful addition to Texas Tech University.

"I think people will drive by and wait to stop and just look at the beautiful building," he said. "The special tiles that we have all over campus as well as very ornate brick work, stone work and other amenities like LED lighting on the exterior and those kinds of things."

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