The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s (UW–Madison) College of Agricultural and Life Sciences is renovating its existing Babcock Hall dairy plant and expanding its Center for Dairy Research (CDR) with an estimated investment of $47m.

Located in Madison, the project is being funded by the State of Wisconsin, UW-Madison and 200 individual donors. A ground-breaking ceremony for the project was held in September 2018, while construction is expected to be completed by January 2021.

The Babcock Hall dairy plant will be renovated to enable it to serve as a laboratory and learning space for students, researchers and industry participants. The expansion of the CDR is expected to turn the university into a hub for discovery and innovation in dairy processes and also establish it as a premier dairy education and research centre in the country.

The project will add 54,650ft²  to Babcock Hall and remodel an additional 29,700ft²  to support the needs of both the Babcock Dairy Plant and the Center for Dairy Research.

Centre for Dairy Research expansion

The expansion of the CDR includes the addition of a three-storey building with a total built-up area of 27,234ft² and basement with a footprint of 8,670ft². The new building will house a pilot plant in the basement and the university’s cheese and food sciences department on the first floor.

The second storey of the new building will include application laboratories, nine cheese ripening rooms and an auditorium with a seating capacity of 99. A new separator equipped with clean-in-place technology will also be installed in the facility.

All three primary floors will include circulation and support functions, while the third floor will contain a mechanical penthouse serving all levels.

The new CDR building will enable the development of new dairy products such as whey and specialty yoghurts.

Babcock Hall Dairy Plant renovation

The basement of the Babcock Hall Dairy Plant will be renovated to include enhanced lab spaces, which will be shared by CDR and the university’s Department of Food Science. A secure hall connecting the new CDR will be built, as well as staff toilets, lockers and break spaces that comply with modern requirements.

“The Babcock Hall dairy plant will be renovated to enable it to serve as a laboratory and learning space for students, researchers and industry participants.”

The first floor will be renovated to include 12,000ft² of operation space. New floor drains, waterproofing and floor tiles will be added to the existing structural concrete slab to assure proper drainage. New fixed cooler and freezer spaces supplementing existing process equipment will be added.

All the major mechanical, electrical, plumbing, life safety systems, utility connections and infrastructure systems will be replaced. The utility connections to the process equipment will be routed from the ceiling. 

A new raw milk intake building capable of accommodating a modern transport truck will be constructed south of the dairy plant.

Construction details

Construction of the project will be undertaken in three phases. The first will include demolition of the existing building to make way for a new loading dock and milk-receiving bay.

The second phase will include the construction of the new three-storey addition to the CDR. The third and final phase will involve the renovation of the Babcock Hall dairy plant, which is expected to begin in early-2020. The project is anticipated to be completed in the latter part of 2020.

Contractors involved

C.D. Smith Construction was selected as the general contractor for the project.

BWZ Architects conducted the feasibility study, while ZimmermanArchitectural Studios provided architecture engineering, design architecture and landscaping architecture services.

M. Sprinkman Corporation will provide the process engineering for the project, while Harwood Engineering will provide structural engineering services.

Hooper Corporation will provide plumbing solutions and NAMI will provide mechanical services.

J.F. Ahern was contracted to provide fire protection services, while Morse Electric was contracted for providing electrical engineering services.

Johnson Industries will provide builder-level support for the project.