Many buildings in the main core of Weber State University’s campus were not able to be cooled after the campus was impacted by two seized valves near the Science Lab demolition, which effectively shut down the cooling of roughly a dozen buildings on campus.

Valve repairs related to the demolition have begun new issues for campus life. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)
Valve repairs related to the demolition have begun new issues for campus life. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

A necessary shutdown of the primary cooling system for campus was enacted, but secondary cooling systems are in place to provide cooling to several buildings.

Jacob Cain, director of operations for Facilities Management, sent out an email on June 8 notifying the campus staff and faculty of some issues with cooling the buildings that needed to be resolved.

“If we are doing our job well, most of the time people don’t know that we’re doing our jobs,” Cain said. “Minimizing the impact on the students and the learning environment is our objective in Facilities Management.”

Two seized valves from the demolition prevented cooling from reaching campus buildings. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)
Two seized valves from the demolition prevented cooling from reaching campus buildings. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

By June 11, the cooling capacity of Lind Lecture Hall and Engineering Technology was still negatively affected, while the other impacted buildings have fared better, according to Facilities Management.

Some diagnostics run by the Facilities Management staff, working with the HVAC shop, detected that some valves were seized 95%.

Ivan Mercado, mechanical superintendent at WSU, said they were able to work diligently and find some valves to replace the seized valves just one day after the issue was announced by Cain.

Science Lab demolition at WSU. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

“We tore the valve apart and realized that the key inside was sheered,” Mercado said. “We were getting a micro bit of flow, but nothing to keep our units cool.”

Matthew Barker, Stromberg Complex Facilities Manager, said they have updated their website since June 8 and have put signs up all over the building to get the word out about the temporary closure.

Workers install new services in accordance with Science Lab demolition. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

“We definitely have faith in Jacob Cain and the contractors that he works with,” Barker said. “So we’re hopeful that we will be fully operational by June 14 or 15.”

The two most impacted buildings, Lind Lecture Hall and Engineering Technology, which are closed as of June 12, have set in place their plan of action to notify campus staff, faculties and the student body.

Campus Recreation will have updated information on the status of the situation on their website and will remain active on their social media pages throughout the resolution of the issue.

The Science Lab demolition began in Summer of 2019. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)
The Science Lab demolition began in Summer of 2019. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

Teri Bladen, director of Campus Recreation, found out about the seized valves through the email that Cain sent out, along with many others.

The Swenson Building and Wildcat Center were both closed on June 12; however, the Swenson pool stayed open for morning lessons, but was not open during drop-in swim hours.

“We apologize for the inconvenience,” Bladen said, “I would like to encourage folks that really need to get their workout in, there is a fitness center at the Davis Campus. And we want to get the word out before people are travelling to campus, and then finding out that our building is closed, or that the heat index will be so high that we need to shut down after 30 minutes.”

The Science Lab was demolished in Summer of 2019, two years before the valve complications.  (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)
The Science Lab was demolished in Summer of 2019, two years before the valve complications. (Robert Lewis / The Signpost)

Unanimously, all those impacted by the seized valves have a lot of trust that Cain and his team at Facilities Management will have this situation rectified as soon as they can.

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