Mason Laboratory, built in 1911, ready for some new air

January 23, 2020

Almost 110 years ago, Mason Laboratory was built on Hillhouse Avenue. The three-story Gothic Revival structure was extensively remodeled in 1967 to provide classroom, office, and laboratory space for the Department (now School) of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS).

This summer, the school’s incredibly old air handler will be replaced, and its HVAC system upgraded. To prepare, Facilities teams are working in phases with the first one completed over recess.

Since the principle investigators use the space to perform research, sometimes involving various chemicals and gases, it is vital that they have constant airflow and efficient exhaust functions. The building also houses SEA’s racing team’s garage, and labs for robotics, electrospray and fuel combution. In addition, there are various classrooms that must remain open during the academic year.

The first phase of work required working in the ceilings throughout the building’s room, labs, and corridors. To do this, the building needed to be unoccupied and the air shut down. So, over the holiday recess the first phase was done by doing just that. The team worked triple shifts with extensive coordination and collaboration between project managers, SEAS principle investigators, and students. They also worked closely with Yale’s Environmental Health and Safety Office (EHS) and the Provost’s Office. “Because this is a public space and we were working overhead, the building had to be cleared. We set a timeline, but after speaking with the SEAS students and leadership, we compressed it by delaying some of the work until this summer. We worked around the clock from December 19 to January 3 and got it done,” said Joe Schlosser, Facilities, Lead Planner.

After the work was completed, EHS tested everything and approved the building for re-occupancy, just as the students were returning from break. “This happened because of the collaboration between Facilities and EHS, and we had the full support of the SEAS community,” said Joe Schlosser.

“Big thanks to the Facilities’ Operations team who assisted with the shutdown of the  55-year-old air handler and kept the building above 50 degrees throughout those two weeks,” said John “JP” Mancuso, Facilities Capital Project Manager.

 Special thanks to:

  • Facilities Planning and construction team: Joe Schlosser and John “JP” Mancuso
  • Facilities Plant Operations – Bob Villani, Angelo Frattasio, Jan Taschner, and Andy Morcus
  • EHS - Steve Murdzia, Shumin Bian, and Cathy King
  • SEAS: Dean Jeffrey Brock, Deputy Dean Vincent Wilczynski, and all the students and staff
  • Provost’s Office: Associate Provost James Slattery
  • Shawmut Construction

JP Mancuso, Joe Schlosser, Bob Villani, Cathleen King & Shumin Bian.