Bessey Hall Addition at Iowa State Complete

September 8, 2017  /  News Blog,

At the start of this school year, Iowa State University students received a new science and research addition to Bessey Hall, which was originally constructed in 1967 to house botany programs for the school in Ames, Iowa.

The 64,000-square-foot addition houses space for ISU’s Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology as well as its Department of Genetics Development and Cell Biology. Both now have space for high-quality and multi-disciplinary research laboratories, classrooms and teaching laboratories; collaboration spaces; and core support facilities that include biological, wet, computational and specialized instrumentation space.

The building addition is on track to receive LEED Silver certification.

The Weitz Company served as the construction manager for the addition, which was completed in 18 months. The architectural design team was Rohrbach Associates/HDR.

Working on this project presented a couple of unique challenges. One of the more significant was an extensive amount of front-end construction that had to be conducted on the existing building while it was still occupied by students and faculty before work could begin on the addition.

“It was sort of like building in a downtown area where public safety is extremely important,” said The Weitz Company Project Manager B.J. Frideres. “There was limited space to lay down our construction equipment, so we had to take extra care in our site logistics to keep the 36,000 students on campus safe.”

To read more about the history of the Bessey Hall building on Iowa State University’s campus, visit