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Campus sidewalk upgrades will save IU energy, money

Aug. 7, 2014

IU may be less crowded when most students are gone for the summer, but it is definitely not quieter. Here's a roundup of campus sidewalk projects that could affect your commute or daily walk.

Physical Plant Campus Division construction foreman Doug Sanders said his group's four projects -- near the Kelley School of Business, near the School of Public Health, between Wright and Teter residence centers and at the Sample Gates -- involve sidewalks around campus that required replacement due to potential hazardous conditions.

Intersection of Fee Lane and 10th Street

The intersection of Fee Lane and 10th Street has reopened to two-way traffic after two years. | Photo By Chasity Mottinger

“We want to keep people safe,” he said. “All of our projects are for the well-being of the university community. I think we do a good job as a physical plant at understanding what kind of responsibility we hold.”

Physical Plant Utilities Distribution is in charge of the steam and condensate pipelines that run underneath these sidewalks. Staffers are working on replacement projects near the IU Auditorium, the IU Police Department and the Simon Music Center.

Manager Kevin Bucy said upgrading those pipelines will save the university both energy and money. IU Bloomington's central heating plant heats water into steam, which is distributed across the campus. When the steam gives up its heat, it condenses back into nearly pure water called condensate. If that condensate isn't returned to the plant to be turned back into steam, it must be replaced by city water, which must be purchased, filtered, softened, chemically treated and heated before it can be used. 

“On July 29 of this year, we only returned 43 percent of the condensate from the entire campus to the central heating plant,” he said. “This means we had to buy and process 265,000 gallons of water to replace the condensate we didn’t get back. So, that cost us about $3,100 in just 24 hours. And this is data for a typical summer day. In the winter when the steam load increases, the condensate losses also increase.”

The following is an update on the projects, all of which are slated for completion by mid-August:

Kelley School of Business

This project involves replacing the south entrance to the Kelley Graduate Business School. The new sidewalk adds to the newly renovated northwest area of campus, including the recently completed Fee Lane and construction at the Kelley undergraduate school. Sanders said the entrance had to be redone due to significant salt damage from last winter's snow removal. 

School of Public Health

Stacked blocks of concrete in the grass west of the Arboretum are actually lids to a shallow steam tunnel that, when replaced, form the sidewalk. This project involves replacing the condensate pipeline in this tunnel running from the School of Public Health, through the Arboretum, and up 10th Street toward the Wells Library.

Teter and Wright

This work includes the replacement of a condensate pipeline and re-insulating the steam lines between the Teter and Wright residence centers, as well as adding a new delivery dock and kitchen to the east side of Wright.

Sample Gates

Bricks are being replaced from the Sample Gates back to the sundial in the paved roundabout. Workers used to replace bricks there by hand, but Sanders said that process eventually became counterproductive, requiring the entire reconstruction project. 

Auditorium/Fine Arts

This work involves creation of a new bike lane on the sidewalk that continues from Seventh Street along the north side of the IU Auditorium, and replacement of the sidewalk in front of the School of Fine Arts.  Sanders said the sidewalk wasn't user friendly due to disrepair and the awkward placement of an accessibility ramp that sent pedestrians into the circle drive that maintains heavy vehicle traffic.

IUPD Memorial Plaza

Outside the IU Police Department building, Campus Division revamped the sitting area where officers and cadets meet for training or work by replacing the sidewalk and adding memorial bricks in honor of the late Keith Cash, a 29-year veteran of IUPD who was serving as its chief when he died in March 2013. Sanders said the brick inlay design will be used to add the names of those who donate to Cash’s memorial. 

Simon Music Center

This project involves replacing the condensate and steam pipelines throughout the Simon Music Center. Originally, the steam and condensate tunnel was outside the building. However, an addition to the building made that pipeline inaccessible and led to complaints about the floor being hot. Utilities Distribution elected to abandon the pipe under the building and install the new one through the center. 

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