The last steam pipe of a campus wide repair was replaced Tuesday, Oct. 8, according to Knox Director of Facilities Services Scott Maust. Additionally, the SMC A-Core (SMC’s center wing) is on track to open for students the first day of winter term.
“By the end of this week, first part of next week, we should be completely wrapped up,” Maust said of the construction outside CFA.
The steam pipes were planned to be replaced by Sept. 1 but faced delays due to issues with rain and receiving select pieces from the pipe manufacturer over the summer. Once the sidewalk is replaced and the grounds reseeded on the east side of campus, Maust said phase one will be finished.
Though the construction had to move slow to avoid digging into sewer pipes and electrical lines, the former pipe system had been leaking steam for years, increasing Knox’s water use well above the normal margin of 1,500 to 2,000 gallons a day.
“We used 15,000 gallons a day to provide steam for the campus. Now that we’re putting the system in, when we’re done with it next year, we should be down to about 2,000 gallons a day,” Maust said.
Associate Professor and Chair of Music Nikki Malley works in CFA and said it was a minor inconvenience not having access to one of the building’s doors. But more so, the building is heated by the steam pipes and amid the construction, the heat has been turned off.
“I can’t wait to feel my hands again,” Malley said.
The new steam pipes use a more sophisticated system than the old line and should be guaranteed against leakage for 25 years. Phase two will begin June 1, replacing the steam pipes from Seymour Union to SMC.
Starting on Dec. 1, Maust says SMC’s A-Core will be “substantially completed,” requiring just the final touches of furniture and books before it is open for faculty and students’ winter term.
Funding was secured for the A-Core’s renovation, but Maust estimates it will be another two to three years before the fundraising is collected, plans drafted and construction finished for the building’s next phase of renovation.
“Tentatively, right now, the next wing that’s gonna be renovated would be E-Wing. And that would be done for, I believe the plan was for biology,” Maust said.
It depends when funds become available for the entirety of SMC to be renovated.
“My opinion [is] by the time the whole building is renovated, you’re probably looking at seven to ten years out,” Maust said.