Infrastructure on Capital University’s campus is a constant area of concern. Years of heavy use are visible in several buildings, and Facilities Management is constantly at work.
Understandably, dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic in Capital’s campus buildings came with considerable costs. These unexpected expenditures cut into the annual Facilities budget, making it necessary to delay a few planned campus renovation projects, including a new air-conditioning unit for Huber-Spielman, updates to the kitchens in a few on-campus houses, and a few others.
Paul Matthews, Capital’s director of Facilities Management, said that he plans to include these postponed projects into the budget request for 2021.
However, even while dealing with budget restrictions, Facilities have been able to address a few crucial issues in Capital’s infrastructure right now.
The biggest renovation project, completed over the summer, was the comprehensive replacement of Battelle Hall’s roof and exhaust system.
Offices, classrooms, and laboratories on the top floor will no longer have to deal with damp conditions due to the consistently leaky roof.
In total, the roof was completely replaced, all of the windows were resealed and finished with new blinds, and the north face was redone to fix cracks in the brickwork that had appeared.
In addition to those improvements, two new exhaust systems were installed. The chemical hoods in all of the laboratories now ventilate to an Environmental Protection Agency-certified purification system, which breaks down exhaust from chemicals and releases it safely into the atmosphere.
Matthews said, “The building looks brand new, although I hate to jinx it.”
Another newly renovated space on campus is the basement of Ruff Memorial Learning Center. Last spring, drainage problems caused the entire basement area—classrooms included—to flood.
To address this, Ruff received new gutters and a new exterior drainage system, ensuring that the problem will not occur again. Also, the old hallway carpet was removed and replaced with vinyl flooring, new furniture was installed in the classrooms and lounge areas, and the entire floor was fitted with LED lights.
Two more campus renovation projects are still underway.
A new piping system is being installed to the campus boiler house. This new addition will replace old pipes with brand new stainless-steel ones, and should be completed before the campus heating is turned on in mid-October. Now, the individual boilers will each have their own shut-off valve, which should help the university save on energy costs.
Finally, the front double-doors of Kerns Religious Life Center are being replaced. Previously, the doors were wooden and in dire need of an upgrade. The new doors, which should be arriving in October, will be made of longer-lasting steel, and will still contain the stained-glass window panels.
Matthews remarks that even though the Facilities team was working with a reduced budget, they were still able to, “address the most pressing problems on campus,” he is already planning out next year’s continued improvements.