Warmth returns to several SDSU buildings

Jason Mann

Jason Mann

The heat is back on for most buildings on the southwest side of campus after a steam tunnel was reconnected last week.

David Law, Avera Health and Science Complex project manager, says all but two buildings affected had steam returned by Oct. 20. Only New Shepard Hall and the Intramural Building are still without steam.

Before Oct. 20, Pugsley, Lincoln Music Hall, Crothers Engineering, Harding Hall, Solberg Hall, Old Shepard Hall, New Shepard Hall and the Intramural Building were cut off from a steam tunnel in June in order to connect a new steam pipe to the future Avera Health and Science Complex, which is currently being built.

“It’s not that everything didn’t have heat, they just didn’t have steam,” says Law.

Law says the original completion date for the steam tunnel project was Oct. 1, before heat would be necessary. He says there were several reasons the project fell behind schedule, including new tunnel excavation for the new health and science complex, complicated installation of the pipes, which involved creating some components to join the new pipe with existing pipe, and the overall complexity of the project.

“We knew going in that this was an extremely aggressive schedule; however, it was our target knowing very well what October in South Dakota can bring,” says Law. “We can experience temps anywhere from the 70s down to the low 30s, and unfortunately this year, we have had quite a string of the latter.”

Precipitation was also a factor, according to Law.

“Had it not been for last week’s rain, we may have had steam back to New Shepard Hall by the end of last week,” says Law.

Law says the buildings without steam did not have temporary heat sources in place.

He says it would have taken more time to reconnect the steam tunnel if he had to pull people off the project to install temporary heat because so many buildings were affected.

“By the time we started to receive [cold complaint] calls, we were getting very close to completion,” says Law.

While it is still steam-free, the Intramural Building is not heat-free. The newly remodeled offices and classrooms on the outside of the building are equipped with electric heat pumps. New Shepard Hall is not as lucky; it is currently without heat. Law says temporary heat was considered for New Shepard, but “the HVAC system pulls in far too much outside air. It would have taken a far greater effort to provide supplemental heat in New Shepard than it was worth.

“If all goes as planned, we expect to have steam back to both New Shepherd Hall and the Intramural Building by the end of this week,” says Law.