Air system overhaul to begin

Rebecca Schultze

Rebecca Schultze

What began as a concern about air quality in the SDSU Animal Science Complex has evolved into a $6.5 million renovation project.

“We’re going to have a modern, safe and very functional building when we’re done,”said Executive Vice President of Administration Mike Reger.

The air quality concern was based on the possibility that the air being taken in by the exhaust hoods from one lab was being recirculated back into the general air system, Reger explained.

Administrators soon realized that fixing the suspected air quality concern, which would cost less than $1 million, was not a cut-and-dry situation.

While investigating the duct system, mold was found in the duct work.

A firm separate from the air duct renovation company was hired to completely clean the ductwork.

The mold-handling firm sprayed an Environmental Protection Agency approved product that is supposed to kill molds for over 10 years.

Since the product was applied over a year ago, there have been no indications of mold in the building, Reger said.

“We are confident the firm cleared it out,” he said. “Once past that issue, we went back to the original problem.”

Administrators again began to look over the air system of the 30-year-old complex.

“Instead of minor updates here and there, it became logical to say if we’re going to make modifications to this building that meet new standards, we need to do it right,” Reger said.

He said that it is far more cost effective to do it right the first time than it is to spread it out over a longer period of time.

Reger said the final design will soon be completed. The contracting bids should be out before the end of September and will be due Nov. 1.

The laboratories and faculty offices will move out at the end of the fall semester into available spaces around campus.

“Olson Biochemistry Labori-tories will move into Shepard for temporary space,” Reger said.

“Between Biostress and Shepard, I think we’ll have most of it covered,” he said of where the faculty, staff and laboratories will be relocated during construction.

There are more than 100 people working in the Animal Science Complex, but not all of them will be moving.

The meat laboratory that is located in the building will stay where it is. The classrooms will remain in place and will be used during the fall and spring semesters.

“The architects and engineers figured out a way to keep classrooms and the meat lab in Animal Science open through May,” Reger said.

This will be accomplished by shutting off the air handling units in different stages.

The air handling units throughout most of the building and the exhaust systems are the focus of the up-grade.

“Part of that is we are replacing almost all of the lab fume heads,” Reger said. “Some are functional, but all are old, so it’s time to up-grade to standard equipment.”

Much of the duct work will be changed, as well.

Reger said that the overhaul of the air system will improve temperature control, air circulation throughout the building and building pressure.

Builders of the original building planned for the fume heads to be running at all times. As energy conservation became an issue over the years, the fume heads were turned off when not in use, which affected air pressure in the building.

Reger said that the pressure was unequal between the inside of Animal Science and the outside of the building. The doors never completely shut.

“We’re going to be getting those kind of things worked out too,” he said.

The work over the classrooms will happen over the summer of 2003, and Reger said he expects to have the classroom work done by the fall, in addition to have all of the offices back into the building by September also.

“So, when we open a year from now they’ll be ready to go,” Reger said about the classrooms and offices.

“The last thing to come back into the building will be lab space and research labs,” he said.

Administration hopes to have the laboratories back in working order by the spring semester of 2004.

There will be renovations done to the offices in the Animal Science Complex. Some departments will be changing spaces within the building. There will also be major repair to the work to the roof, which would soon need to be replaced anyway, Reger said.

Reger said the Animal Science Complex is crucial to the teaching and research of animal science and for the analytical services done by the Olson Biochemistry lab. The lab is a major service unit for SDSU and for people across the state, according to Reger in an article in State of State.

The price of the project has grown from hundreds of thousands of dollars to $6.5 million because the scope of the project has expanded, not because administration didn’t know what all needed to be done.

The main project is funded by the higher education facility fund. Some of the renovations to offices will be paid for by the animal science department.