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T.N. Ward – Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering expansion


A new addition to Rowan University’s college of engineering will help the institution keep up with growing enrollment. By Jim Harris

One of New Jersey’s largest public universities is looking to general contractor TN Ward Co. to meet its growth needs. 

TN Ward Co. in July 2015 began work on a $70.6 million building on the Rowan University campus in Glassboro, N.J., that will serve as an expansion of the school‚’s Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering. The project is anticipated to conclude in January 2017.


The three-story building will allow the university to increase its focus on research. “The state made a tremendous investment in Rowan University, and that investment will pay off,” Rowan President Ali Houshmand said in a statement at the time of the building‚’s groundbreaking. “Each year, we turn away hundreds of qualified engineering students simply because we do not have room for them. These are students with excellent GPAs and outstanding SAT scores who enroll in other colleges and universities. These are students who have the potential to be future leaders in their fields, researchers, academics and entrepreneurs.

“This new College of Engineering building will provide increased opportunities for New Jersey residents to stay in our state to receive their college education in high-demand fields,” he adds. TN Ward box

The Rowan College of Engineering was established in 1992 following the college‚’s receipt of a $100 million contribution from industrialist Henry Rowan and his late wife, Betty. The college graduated its first class in 2000. Today, almost 930 students are enrolled in its graduate program and undergraduate programs in chemical, civil and environment, electrical and computer, and mechanical engineering.

The project is expected to create more than 550 construction jobs, generate more than $180 million in economic activity and create more than 100 permanent jobs in Glassboro, according to the college.

Building Features
The three-story, 88,000-square-foot building features a structural steel frame on pile-supported footings. The building sits in a low-lying area of campus, necessitating the placement of a PVC water membrane below its bottom concrete slab. “The membrane is similar to a roof, so we basically have a roof on top of the building as well as under it,” Project Executive Rick Bernardini says. “The area has a high water table, and Rowan has a history of flooring finish failures in nearby buildings. This is a way to prevent that.”

The building’s exterior is a highly detailed mixture of stone, curtainwall and two types of metal panels. The materials interface with each other throughout the building‚’s facade. For example, the building‚’s window mullions feature articulations that extend through to other materials. Other notable exterior features include a green roof with a trellis and an exterior IPE exterior hardwood deck on the third floor. The design architect and lab planner is Ellenzweig, and Clarke Caton Hintz is the architect of record.

The new building will connect to Rowan Hall, the College of Engineering‚’s existing facility, through an elevated pedestrian bridge. The new building will include wet and dry research laboratories, classrooms, conference rooms, faculty and staff offices, a food service area and support spaces for STEM-related academic programs. The project will also include new landscaping, surface parking, roadway access improvement and the addition of a traffic signal.

The building will also have collaboration spaces for teachers and students. These spaces include recessed areas in corridors that feature white boards. The new building will also feature a Center for Sustainability, which consists of two classrooms that include testing equipment used to determine the energy efficiency of mechanical and electrical systems.

‘Working Side by Side’
TN Ward is collaborating closely with its subcontractors and other team members to ensure the project runs smoothly. This includes keeping itself and others to an accelerated schedule. “One of the biggest challenges we‚’ve faced so far is that, because of a bid protest, we were awarded the project late, so we are in an accelerated recovery schedule to achieve the original completion date,” Bernardini says. “Everyone is working side by side with us to finish as fast as we can.”

The project team is also working to ensure safety on the site. “The superintendent is conducting daily inspections, and our corporate safety director and construction manager are on site every week,” he adds. “This is an active campus, so the site is entirely fenced in and we have signs directing students around it.”

TN Ward’s work on the project reflects the company‚’s overall focus on client satisfaction. In addition to educational projects, the companyworks in a variety of sectors including residential, commercial, healthcare and industrial construction. The company‚’s capabilities include self-performing site layout and control engineering, demolition, formwork, concrete, carpentry, drywall, millwork and acoustical ceiling trades. “We have a strong reputation for being fair and equitable and delivering projects on time,” Bernardini says.

The company’s reputation has earned it repeat business, including 25-plus-year relationships with clients. The Ardmore, Penn.-based company dates its history back to 1918.

“Throughout the decades, TN Ward Company has adapted to market trends and economic cycles with a basic philosophy to stay true to our core constructor culture,” the company says.

The company’s project managers use tools including cost and schedule control and building information modeling (BIM) to coordinate its projects. “Bringing hands-on construction capability to the project site and being empowered to make decisions on site enables our superintendents to communicate more effectively with trade foremen in order to ensure maximum productivity and achieve quality goals,” the company says.