Pipe corrosion over time led to the widespread repair of the hot water pipes around campus.
Across campus, construction crews are replacing the pipelines that carry the university’s heated water throughout campus due to corroded pipes.
Originally, every building on campus had a boiler that provided heated water for the building. However, around the 1920 – 30s, people started building central plants to compensate for new technological advances to distribute hot water around campus.
According to Bob Shipley, the Associate Vice President for Operations and Physical Plant, “The pipeline consists of an inner pipe which carries the hot water, and an outer pipe which protects the insulation around the inner pipe to keep the heat from leaking out into the earth.”
A large amount of pipeline was put in the eastern half of the campus in the early 1990s, but today much of the outer protective pipe is corroded and needs to be replaced before any further damage can affect the inner pipe.
Many old pieces of the pipe have been replaced since May of this year and will continue over the next few years. The current stage of the project, the holes that can be seen all around Physical Plant, will hopefully be done by the end of October or the first week of November, before the cold weather moves in.
Over the next few years, other pieces of the pipe will be replaced. Meanwhile, some buildings on the edge of campus will be taken off of the pipeline that connects to Physical Plant and will have new boilers put in.
As Bob Shipley explains, “It will be more cost-effective to put a new boiler back into each building … especially the outer buildings, due to the length of pipe it takes to reach the buildings from the Physical Plant.” So far, boilers have been installed in the Soccer Track and Stadium, Collins Fitness Center, the University School, Hardesty Hall and John Mabee Hall.
Shipley advises students to be careful around the construction and courteous of the workers involved with the project. He also advises the students to be cautious around the ditches, especially after rains, because the ground can be unstable and hazardous.