West Texas A&M Veterinary Education, Research and Outreach (VERO) Center

The new VERO building features steel construction with a composite slab on a metal deck. The roof was designed with a typical open web steel joist configuration. The building houses biosafety level (BSL)-2 research and teaching laboratories. The teaching, research and laboratory spaces are situated in a two-story wing of the building that also includes classrooms, sterilization and cleaning facilities, and coolers and freezers with space to store large livestock specimens.

The one-story faculty wing of the building houses office space, conference rooms, meeting spaces, break rooms, and associated support and storage spaces.

One extremely unique feature of the VERO Center is that the heart of the building is an enormous, double-height atrium with exposed wood-glulam beams and soffits. The atrium acts as a student commons and lobby area and includes a large, open staircase and a glass curtain wall. It is situated between the research and faculty areas of the building.

The exposed wood-glulam trusses required thoughtful consideration in the structural engineering to ensure that the warm, inviting feel of the space was enhanced through the use of a long span wood deck. The custom wood-glulam trusses were designed with steel tension rods in the bottom, a compression pipe in the middle and diagonal members for additional support.

Knife plates were hidden in the glulam beams to disguise the structural steel elements. Intricate wood detailing was required to enhance the aesthetics of the space with the clean, sleek design exposing as much of the wood as possible.

The exposed glulam beams were cantilevered to define a roof overhang with exposed wood soffit that created continuity between the internal and external building elements.

Location: Canyon, Texas

Size: 11,233 SF

Architect: Perkins & Will

Contractor: Vaughn Construction

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