FSU springs into 2019 with new construction projects

Construction crew works on top of Dwight Hall roof to make necessary repairs. (Donald Halsing / THE GATEPOST)

This year, the Facilities and Capital Planning Operations department is undertaking various construction projects around campus.

The projects this spring 2019 semester, as well as the ones slated for this summer, are devised to address concerns regarding functionality and performance, according to Patricia Whitney, assistant vice president of facilities and capital planning operations. 

The costs of many of the projects are broken down into 74% state funding from the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management, and 26% FSU funding from the Critical Repairs budget, according to Dale Hamel, executive vice president. 

Furthermore, campus buildings and their respective projects are also overseen by the Massachusetts State College Building Authority, the holder of the buildings’ titles.

Dwight Hall roof repair

According to a Feb. 1 Gatepost article, the roof on Dwight Hall was reported to have leaky ceilings and was, said Whitney, “beyond its useful life.”

Hamel said the total cost of repair for the roof is $669,053, an increase from the previously reported $600,000. 

Contractors began work late March and are expected to complete the project this month, according to Whitney. The roof work involves the replacement of and addition to the roof’s underlayment.

“One of the things that took so long was the undersurface – what’s under the roof – was so old,” said Whitney. “Also, the [building] codes had changed, which required us to beef things up.”

She added, “It wasn’t just a simple ‘take the roof off, put it back down.’”

Whitney said she is very “optimistic” about the project, saying at the time of publication she expects the roof to be completed next week.

Peirce and Horace Mann halls’ water heating repair

Around Feb. 23, multiple Peirce and Horace Mann residents reported a lack of hot water in the dorms, preventing them from taking hot showers. 

Area directors David Case and Marcie Dineen followed up with residents via email the following day, saying FSUPD and Residence Life staff took note of the situation. They advised residents to use showers in the Athletic Center for hot water if the dorm showers were not warm enough.

The repair cost $7,000 for materials and general contractor costs, according to Whitney. “We also spent about 20 hours of Facilities labor working on the temporary repairs to keep the system operational prior to spring break.”

Facilities was able to complete the project over the break, she said.

According to Whitney, many buildings’ water sources are heated through a “heat exchanger,” a steam coil that surrounds a water pipe. The steam effectively heats the water, and this process is powered by the central power plant. 

“In Peirce and Horace Mann, the piece of equipment that takes that steam and heats the water broke,” Whitney said. “In order to repair it, we had to order a whole new part. … They’re pretty big things – they have to be freighted in.”

In the meantime, while the Facilities department waited for necessary materials, Whitney said contractors had to take water from two different sources to accommodate the dorms. 

“There’s an older hot water heater that could be used in the summer at times, and we hooked it back up. But it’s not large enough to meet the demands of everyone in the buildings,” she said.

McCarthy Center “Chiller” Project

The cost of this completed project totaled $550,885, according to Hamel, and involved the replacement of the McCarthy Center’s “chiller,” the building’s air-conditioning system.

“It chills the water,” Whitney said. “The way the air conditioning works in that building – it’s not like home, where it’s blowing cold air. [The McCarthy Center] has chilled water that runs in pipes through the building.”

Whitney added during the 2017-18 academic year, the chiller in the building was not “adequately” chilling the water, as well as “intermittently shutting off.

“During the summer and the fall, we worked with the [University] architect and engineer to figure out what the problem was. What they found out was that where this is located on the roof did not have adequate airflow,” she added.

To resolve the issue, the chiller was raised above the ground by a crane.

Whitney said, “If you’re walking down State Street, you can now see it peeking above the brick wall. … You can now see the exhausted air – it’s heat being exhausted.”

She added her department has delayed switching the building’s temperature-regulating system from heating to cooling until temperatures consistently reach 60 degrees, which she expects will happen this month. This is due to the lengthy process necessary to switch from heating to cooling.

Summer projects

Additional major projects identified by Hamel include repairs to Crocker Hall and the Admissions Center, as well as the Maple Fields project, which is the renovation of the football field.

According to Hamel, the project will cost $1.3 million.

Whitney said renovations will start May 1, working in cooperation with the schedules of the Athletics department. 

“Basically, what we’re going to do with the football field is take off the top coating of the track, and then take off the turf,” she said. The tracks will be resurfaced and the turf replaced with new material.

There will also be additional underground pipes installed to address concerns of poor drainage.

“It’s really long past its lifespan,” Whitney said.

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