By Trish Nguyen, Staff Writer—
For the spring semester of 2020, the portion of Cardiac Hill between Lupton Hall and Brock Hall will be closed for construction crews to connect Lupton Hall to the Central Energy Plant.
The Central Energy Plant, located between Lot 34 and the Fifth Street Garage, provides utilities—including the main power distribution—for UTC through an underground piping system that connects to almost all buildings on campus.
Lupton Hall’s original connection to the plant is where the elevator towers of the new building will be constructed, and the only connection intersects at the bottom of Cardiac Hill.
Director of Construction Services Danny West leads all construction projects on campus, including the Lupton Hall reconstruction.
According to West, the larger machines servicing the entire campus are more efficient than the smaller, independent units for each building and has reduced operating costs for the University.
“That piping that was there was original to the construction building in the ‘70s, and it needed to be replaced anyway,” West said.
In addition to connecting the new building, construction crews will also replace some of the pipes to keep the interior better insulated, prevent the material from deteriorating, and improve its efficiency.
This subproject is expected to be completed at the end of the spring semester, due to various factors such as the depth and detail of the pipes.
“You have to dig really deep to get to the connection and to get [the pipes] into the building at the level that they need to come into,” West said. “Just to make sure they’re doing it safely and digging it wide enough so that the trench won’t collapse and that we’re doing it per OSHA standards.”
West plans to cut through one of the landings in between the steps of Cardiac Hill to minimize the amount of concrete that needs to be demolished.
Because of the quality of the newly installed pipes, they will not need to be adjusted or replaced for another 40 to 50 years once the construction is finished, West said.
Freshman Faith Pinson typically walks down Cardiac Hill to get to her class in Grote Hall from her dorm in Stagmaier.
“Usually, I take Cardiac [Hill] all the way down, but since that’s no longer an option, I’ve went around a little bit,” Pinson said. “It’s a little bit of an inconvenience, but it’s necessary so it’s okay.”
The construction is about halfway through and on target to finish in late July for occupancy in early August as planned.
The next step to finishing Lupton Hall is to erect elevator towers, which requires some of the columns around Heritage Plaza to be taken down.
“The elevator tower is constructed of free cast panels that are made off-site, and then they bring it on a big truck and use a crane to erect them,” West said. “That crane is a 300-ton crane that requires outriggers to stabilize it and hold the weight to erect those [elevators].”
The connection of the underground pipes to the Central Energy Plant and the construction of the elevator towers is a critical point for the Lupton Hall project, but everything after that will just be finishes to the interior, West said.