Owner Representation, Construction Management, Heavy & Civil Design


The Leon Johnson 6th floor Lab Renovation at Montana State University was a $2.4 million National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded project to renovate the Thermal Biology Institute’s (TBI) research labs. The 1970s-era labs were completely updated to meet the demands of modern research technologies including the installation of new autoclaves, fume hoods, and a cold chamber room. Laboratory and corridor floors are now polyaspartic, which is very durable and slip-resistant. Chemical-resistant, fiber-reinforced plastic coats the walls adjacent to laboratory casework. The project also includes a lab designed to maximize functionality of TBI’s phototrophic bioenergy research. Proximity of the labs to Yellowstone Park’s thermal areas provides TBI researchers a unique opportunity to gather and interpret data.

NSF projects are the vision of research groups that have applied for and been awarded grants specific to their vision. The research group is therefore an integral part of the design and construction team, resulting in an extremely technical project to meet the detailed needs of the grantee.

Tasks involved with managing an NSF project include:

  • Publishing quarterly and annual NSF Reports.
  • Participating in a quarterly conference call with NSF grant administrators.
  • Detailed budget tracking of all project funds spent on NSF grant approved research items vs. Montana State University facility items; for example, bathroom and corridor renovations are not included in the NSF grant.
  • Submitting construction change orders to the National Science Foundation for approval before being issued to contractor, which requires detailed planning and scheduling to avoid impact on the contractor’s schedule.

Tate Management served as Montana State University’s Project Manager, coordinating work between the NSF research group, NSF Grant Administrators, contractor, architect/engineer, and building occupants.