Leakage problems addressed by facilities
Michelle Shnayder – Copy Editor
Facilities staff are working to maintain and improve the grounds, battling leakage and implementing more sustainable technology.
Recent severe weather has caused widespread leakage throughout campus–including the street level floor of the Adanti Student Center and Engleman Hall.
Robert Sheeley, associate vice president of capital budgeting and facilities operations, said facilities staff are continuing to make repairs and address the leakages, working with outside contractors to make sure buildings are well maintained.
“In terms of the regularly scheduled projects like the Davis Hall roof replacement that happened in May, those were in part to prevent and to address leakage problems,” said Sheeley.
“Every year, we have a consultant that goes through all of our roofs,” Sheeley also said. “Actually, we had him in this morning, along with an architect.”
Sheeley said they do whatever they can to insure problems are taken care of immediately. “They examine our roofs, and we do whatever is necessary to fix them,” said Sheeley.
Regardless of how much work is done, he said a building can only handle so much and survive for so long.
“A roof will last a certain amount of time, and that is its life,” said Sheeley. “We take that into account and do yearly maintenance, but we cannot completely ignore the fact that leaks will happen because buildings age.”
According to facilities staff, the challenging weather in the last couple of years has presented new and unique problems.
“Because of the age of some of our buildings, the intensity of recent storms caused significant leaks,” said Suzanne Huminski, sustainability coordinator. Sheeley said heavy rains have caused pressure on roofs that older buildings cannot handle.
“In the older buildings, the weather is causing leakage that could have been contained easily to become more of a problem,” said Sheeley. “The extreme weather diminishes the life cycle of roofs and buildings in general, but older buildings are generally weaker.”
He said it is unprecedented in this area to experience large periods of rain in 24 to 48 hours— something the buildings are not built to sustain.
Huminski said people need to be made aware of the correlation between climate change and the facilities issues.
“Because extreme rain events tend to happen on a more frequent basis as the climate changes, nuisance flooding and major flooding is part of a larger problem, and it is our job to inform the community.”
Facilities is working on other projects such as the installation of solar panels on the Wintergreen Garage. These solar panels have been built in parking Lot 9 as well.
Sheeley, said the project is coming to a close, and the solar panels will all be operational by next semester.
“Between the parking Lot 9 and the top of Wintergreen’s garage, we have installed over 3000 solar panels,” said Sheeley. “As of now, they are all expected to active by Jan. 1.”
Associate Director for Project Managing & Engineering Eric Lessne, said the university is striving to add more solar panels throughout campus when the first round of panels is proven operational. He said they are considering installation in the eastern section of campus at a later date.
“We are looking at other areas and seeing what we can do to add more sustainable energy sources on campus,” said Lessne. “It’s a very exciting idea, and we are passionate about it, but other solar panel installations are still in the beginning stages.”
Photo Credit: Palmer Piana