Typically captains of industry from around the world contact Polymer Solutions, Inc. when they have a product problem and need a solution. As a state-of-the-art independent testing facility in Blacksburg, Polymer Solutions’ tagline is “Relish the challenge. Then solve it.” This time, Polymer Solutions had a problem – their rapidly growing business had outgrown their currently leased space that was not optimized for an internationally renowned laboratory. Hughes Associates A&E provided conceptual plans and construction documents for a new 15,000 square foot facility with an unfinished expansion bay of 5,000 sf. By the end of design, Polymer Solutions had approved finishing out the additional space as part of the new facility.
Working with proprietary information worth millions, Polymer Solutions is committed to client confidentiality of the highest level, which required a thoroughly analyzed security plan for the building including fob readers at all exterior doors, cameras, and a hardened lobby. Testing laboratories include metals, gases, polymers, failure analysis, and a chromatography lab with an oven capable of reaching temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun. Support rooms include eight office suites, large and small conference rooms, a large event/break room with seating for 40 employees, secure shipping/receiving/sample storage, wellness room, electron microscope room, and headspace room. With small tolerances for fluctuations in temperature, humidity, vibration and air movement, special attention was given to the mechanical design of the laboratory spaces.
Polymer Solutions is committed to sustainability, although LEED certification was not in their program. Green measures incorporated into the building include low flow fume hoods, water bottle filling stations, occupancy sensors for lights, exercise showers, HFIP recycling system (a hazardous and expensive solvent), xeriscaping of the site, and high SEER rating mechanical units with air dispersion fabric grilles.
Polymer Solutions held a dedication in May 2015 at which Caitlyn Scaggs, Director of Communications and Marketing said, “We could not be more thrilled with our new home. This new location personifies all that we love about this area and our community.”