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Project Spotlight - Monsanto Greenhouse Renovation

By: Jason Kuhl

The Monsanto (now known as Bayer) Greenhouse Renovation project was a complete remodel of twenty-six greenhouses between the 5th and 6th floors of its Research Center. The L. Keeley Industrial Team was honored to complete this project and continue our trusted partnership with Monsanto/Bayer. The previous greenhouses were over 30 years old with technology that was outdated and experiencing water infiltration through the existing greenhouse glass enclosure. The existing steel truss support structures had also fallen out of alignment over time and required realignment and additional steel bracing to accommodate the new glazing installation. The project consisted of numerous complex components, such as removing and replacing 15,300 pieces of glass and installing all new mechanical and electrical systems. These systems included state-of-the-art temperature, humidity, and light controlling technology. All project components were successfully completed while adhering to Monsanto’s strict, multi-phased timeline to avoid interfering with their critical research schedules. In addition, L. Keeley’s Team adapted to unique environmental challenges while still completing the renovation project on time and on budget.

As the general contractor, the L. Keeley Industrial Team ensured all of Monsanto’s high quality and safety standards were met. Constant communication was delivered amongst the entire team including the research teams, Monsanto’s representative, architects, engineers, and subcontractors. In order to avoid any interference with Monsanto’s critical research schedules, a very detailed phasing plan was implemented. To meet the deadline set by Monsanto, communication and coordination had to be a main priority for all stakeholders involved.

One of the most challenging aspects of this project was the removal and replacement of 15,300 individual pieces of glass that made up the exterior of the greenhouses. During the removal process, it was imperative that the L. Keeley Team used extreme caution in their efforts to keep the glass pieces intact until they could be properly removed and recycled. As the new glass was being installed, extreme attention to detail was again required to prevent damage to the glass as it was installed back into each glazed opening. The replacement of all 15,300 glass panels could not begin until all of the existing greenhouse supporting steel was plumbed, squared, and in some cases additional bracing was required. Another complexity of this state-of the-art greenhouse included a cutting-edge Argus Temperature Control System that communicates with a weather station located on the roof. Sensors were placed inside each greenhouse to control temperature, humidity, and sunlight. L. Keeley installed 26 new evaporative curtains, and each was thoroughly tested to ensure the amount of water and cool air released would precisely align with the temperature and humidity controls.

The mission of Monsanto is to improve the lives of humans, animals, and plants. These greenhouses allow Monsanto to continue and increase their research capabilities, driving closer to their mission. The most significant and most rewarding achievement was being awarded this highly sensitive and delicate project with very strict phasing deadlines. Monsanto trusted L. Keeley to not only properly execute the construction of their state-of-the-art greenhouses, but to also keep proprietary information confidential. L. Keeley was honored to be a part of the project and continues to grow and strengthen their relationship with Monsanto/Bayer.


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