Engineering

The Assistant Director of Facilities, Engineering Services is responsible for all utility issues. The assistant director manages the heating plant, mechanical maintenance and electric shop, the water system and the electrical systems.

The mechanical maintenance group is responsible for all plumbing, heating, ventilating and air-conditioning equipment and controls. We also have licensed electricians, and do repair and maintenance as well as new installations. It is our intent that most of this group’s time be dedicated to maintenance, however, we can take on larger project work when the load allows. In most cases larger projects will be handled by contractors under the direction of the assistant director.

Each building has a mechanic and an electrician assigned to it. Work orders for each building go directly to the person responsible for it. We believe that this facilitates the process by eliminating several steps in the office. Each person is able to become more familiar with conditions in the buildings, and develop a real sense of ownership working in this system.

While the mechanics are generally in charge of the same types of things within their buildings, each has an area that they specialize in. They rely on each other for help when they need another person’s expertise. We have master plumbers, welders, temperature control specialists and refrigeration experts available.

Heating Plant

The heating plant provides heat to the entire campus. High pressure steam is generated and moved through the tunnel system to the buildings. Because we produce steam at 150 PSI, we have must have engineers on duty twenty four hours a day, year round. The plant is in the charge of a chief engineer who is responsible for all aspects of the production of steam and the maintenance of the equipment and distribution system.

The high pressure steam is reduced at the entrance to each building, and the steam is used in a variety of ways to provide heat. In some of the buildings, steam goes through a “converter”, which heats water. The water is then pumped through the building to individual radiators. In this case, the water temperature is set in proportion to the outdoor air temperature. If it is very cold outside, the water may be 190 degrees f. If it is forty degrees f. outside, the water may be 140 degrees f. In almost every case, each space will also have some type of thermostatic control.

In older buildings, low-pressure steam goes directly to the radiation. Steam is also used extensively in the food service, and for sterilization in the sciences. In the bigger buildings, another converter provides hot domestic water.

Chilled water for air conditioning is also produced at the plant and piped throughout the campus. The air conditioned buildings have their own chilled water pumps which move the chilled water to individual units or central air handling units.

These central facilities are much more efficient than a system of distributed boilers and smaller chillers. We are able to produce steam and chilled water with a smaller staff, and fewer machines to maintain.

While we are not presently generating electricity on campus, all of the electricity we use comes in through the central plant. It is sent out to the buildings through a series of tunnels, and transformed to the proper voltage at each building.

Problems involving electricity, heating, cooling or ventilating should be reported to 3280.