A woman stands behind computer screens and analyzes a man walking on a treadmill at Penn State’s Biomechanics Lab.

Penn State Biomechanics Lab Renovation


Our Client’s Challenge

Renovations to a leading-edge biomechanics laboratory in The Pennsylvania State University’s College of Health and Human Development enable researchers in the department of kinesiology to expand their study of adaptive human movement.

The 1,725-square-foot lab features a specialized treadmill integrated with a 240-degree wraparound screen, virtual display projectors, and motion-capture cameras that create an immersive environment for the study of repetitive movements under a variety of conditions. Research at the facility improves outcomes for people recovering from brain, spinal cord, and orthopedic injuries.

Our Solution

Gannett Fleming provided engineering design, which required a series of steps to safely install the treadmill and its components in a renovated lab space inside historic Rec Hall.

The work included modifying the lab’s existing slab and designing a recessed slab support system for the treadmill, which weighs approximately 2,000 pounds. New ceiling connections accommodate the metal rigging that supports virtual display and motion capture equipment. The team’s lab design focused on functional safety to protect users against injury when operating the treadmill.

To accommodate the treadmill, the team excavated a 10-inch-deep rectangular pit measuring 7 feet, 10 inches by 3 feet, 10 inches in the footprint of the existing slab. A new recessed slab support system enables vibration-free treadmill operation, required for proper equipment functionality and user safety. Because the treadmill equipment generates approximately 9 kilowatts (kW) of heat during use, a secondary cooling system was designed to maintain a comfortable temperature in the lab and prevent heat-related system malfunctions.

The team’s electrical engineering design ensured a stable power supply for the treadmill system, with surges or dips limited to no more than 10%, to meet the requirements of the manufacturer.

Architectural design and equipment layout maintain lab compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) design requirements while staying within budget.

Key Features

  • Recessed slab support system enables vibration-free treadmill operation.
  • Secondary cooling system addresses 9-kW heat gain to maintain lab comfort and proper equipment functionality.
  • Stable power supply provides electricity without significant surges or dips.
  • Laboratory renovations maintain ADA compliance.

Awards & Recognition

  • Award, 2020, info here.


  • Strengthens support for innovative study of adaptive human movement.
  • Enhances university’s reputation as a center of kinesiology research.
  • Improves outcomes for people recovering from injuries that affect mobility.


The Pennsylvania State University


University Park, Pa.


Architectural and Interior Design, Building Systems Solutions

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