SCCC Ammerman | New William J. Lindsay Life Sciences Building

Suffolk County Community College announced the construction of a new Life Sciences Building at its Ammerman Campus in Selden, NY, as part of the College’s 50th anniversary celebration. The design competition was established in mid-2009 and in February 2010 BBS was awarded this prestigious Long Island project. The new educational facility is the first new building erected on the Ammerman Campus in more than 30 years.

The campus planning concept situated the building as a focal point in an existing system of nodes on the campus. The building in itself houses an array of new labs for the life sciences as well as general classrooms, faculty space, and lecture halls. Informal student gathering is encouraged by the wide corridors facing the south curtain-window wall façade that is designed to harvest solar energy. BBS incorporated all the latest innovations in data, voice and video support systems for ultimate connectivity throughout the building; mobile learning as well as dedicated technologies are widely employed. The new building emulates upper and lower site slopes to provide full ADA accessibility. It is designed to be a LEED Gold facility.

The building creates a new identity for scientific education programs at the College by displaying the school’s inner works to passersby and visitors. The building is designed to integrate its teaching functions with the campus circulation by utilizing a major pedestrian path from the south, leading to the main Campus Quadrangle, to encourage transit through the building by students and faculty, rather than around it. The overall program also included construction of a new 314-square-foot astronomical observatory at a separate location.

The Life Sciences Building’s location and design reflect and enhance the existing pathways and spatial relationships already in place on campus. Taking advantage of the changing grade of the site, a north entrance receives students and faculty coming from the Riverhead and Smithtown Science buildings at the 2nd floor level. To the south, where the grade drops one full story, another entry serves students and faculty arriving from the parking area and adjacent athletic facilities at the 1st floor level.

The architectural and planning concepts are fundamentally sustainable. The east-west orientation of the building minimizes summer solar heat gain. The integration into the land contours reduces the exterior surface area, and the overall space efficiency minimizes the material and construction resources. The high efficiency mechanical and electrical systems are designed to provide safe and functional operation, while significantly minimizing the energy use. The BBS engineering team critically analyzed the air change rates required for each type of the interior spaces and optimized the building’s mechanical system to accommodate the findings.

The building is arranged with two wings around a central rotunda, which serves as both a transit and a gathering point for students and faculty. Each wing has a single laboratory corridor, which provides clear orientation as well as efficiency and visibility. The corridors feature active exhibits and serve as informal meeting places for students. The south-facing window wall has been designed to modulate and harvest natural light. Classroom spaces at the second and third floors feature internal glass walls to take advantage of light and views to the south. Seating opportunities in the corridors/ public spaces provide settings for impromptu conversations or short breaks before entering classrooms.

The building’s layout provides a high degree of space efficiency. The two wing corridors provide direct access to all laboratory and support spaces. Stairways for egress at the ends of the two wings, and the central open stair, designed for dramatic architectural impact, ensure safe and convenient access to all floors. The simple circulation systems and central core rotunda, as well as the mixed locations of the several scientific disciplines housed within the structure, encourage meetings and interaction among students and faculty. Additional informal meeting spaces along the laboratory corridors promote a dialogue and exchange of ideas among the building’s occupants.

Project Facts


  • 2015 Outstanding Project Award, Learning By Design.
  • 2011 Sustainability and Innovation Award – “Building as a Teaching Tool” Category, School Planning & Management.