Physical Plant Upgrades Over the Summer

Rebecca Jordan


The Physical Plant has been busy over the summer for the students who don’t want to pop a tire in potholes, lose power while writing an important paper or get leaked on in Fitzgibbons.

Parking lots were repaved all around campus to smooth out some of the potholes. In the lot outside Brahan, the traffic patterns were changed to allow greater ease of traffic flow.

The Physical Plant also added motorcycle parking scattered around campus per the request of the college’s president, Andrew Matonak. Most of these spots were added to I lot by taking a spot and dividing it in two when they repainted the parking lines.

Richard Edwards, director of the Physical Plant, said, “There wasn’t really any motorcycle parking, and then they would take up a full spot.”

Over the summer, the college completed its tie-in to National Grid power that was started at the beginning of the 2015 fall semester. Several short outages were scheduled before classes to achieve this goal and cause minimal disruptions to students. According to Edwards, once the necessary adjustments are made to the power system, the unplanned outages experience last academic year should be resolved.

“It will never probably eliminate the fact that we could have outages, but we’ve actually improved the efficiency and the operation of the plant a lot over the last two or three years. This is our final step to do that,” said Edwards.

According to estimates, the college has gone from about 30 outages a year down to 18, and then down to six this year. The power outages this year were found as being due to user error and not the CoGen plant.

Once the tie-in is completed, the campus will have the ability to use both the CoGen plant that currently supplies college power and also buy power from National Grid.

“We will only by buying a small portion. The objective is to give us a few more capabilities and stabilize our voltage and frequency in the plant. It is not taking over for the [CoGen] plant, nor will it ever,” Edwards said.

Fitzgibbons and Brahan also had work done with the replacement of their roofing. Fitzgibbons had major leaks to the point where the insulation was all wet when crews went to replace the roof on the building due to the 20-year-old roof.

“Part of what we try to do here is look ahead,” said Edwards. “The lifespan of a roof is typically about 20 or 25 years at the most, so when we start to get to that level and we start to see some little things start to fail, we try to fix that so we don’t have the big things fail.”

Edwards also said that many smaller, cosmetic changes happened on campus. The BTC went through a large cosmetic facelift with new carpet, paint and exterior and interior doors. Construction of new entryways in the BTC may occur during the academic school year as well.

Two more Big Belly solar garbage cans were introduced to campus, one in front of the Science Center and another up by Williams. These cans compact garbage using the energy from solar panels mounted on top of the cans so they can hold more trash.

“We would like to do a few more, but the budgets are a little tight now. I think enrollment is down a little bit, so budges shrink a little bit,” said Edwards.

Despite the slight decrease in enrollment, the new programs of study introduced this fall caused a need for more classrooms. Several labs in Amstuz were converted into classrooms, and one room was renovated into a Yoga-Pilates space.

During the school year, students might notice minor changes occurring, but the majority of changes should occur during the break months.

“Most of our work during the school year is repair and maintenance. We try to stay away from any of the big projects because they’re so disruptive,” said Edwards.

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