North Central continues plans to update the HVAC system in Phillipps Hall. Photo by Josiah Mayo.
Future solutions to be identified and implemented
Work being done on Phillipps Hall following the discovery of mold in the HVAC system is on schedule and the whole process should be complete by summer 2018. Mold was found in the east wing of Phillipps Hall during summer 2017 causing 90 students to be relocated to Zimmerman House and Mensing Hall for the fall semester.
According to Jay Vetter, director of faculties management and Todd Monger, executive director of student development there was no health risk to students.
North Central contracted a mechanical engineer to investigate the possible causes for the mold. Vetter believes the most likely cause was humid conditions caused by a combination of the showers and open windows. Along with cool pipes and the ducts from the air conditioning, this presumably created condensation leading to mold growth.
North Central received recommendations from the mechanical engineer on how to prevent this from happening again in the future. North Central is also working with their contractors on how to implement the suggested solutions. They are continuing to work on solutions that will be applicable to students. One recommended solution is to increase the gap at the base of some doors to increase the amount of airflow when doors are shut. North Central is also considering changing regulations regarding the use of the new system.
“Facilities Management will be working with Residence Life once proposed solutions are identified” Vetter said in an email.
The work on the HVAC system is being done in three phases. The first phase of replacing the HVAC units on the east side of Phillipps Hall will be completed before Christmas break. The HVAC units on the west side of Phillipps Hall will then be replaced during Christmas break. Implementing additional solutions will likely be completed in the spring or summer of 2018.
Incurred expenses of the repair included demolition, replacement of the units, and building repairs. Additional costs were put towards an engineering study and subsequent steps taken to reduce the likelihood of having this issue happen again.
“Approximately 75% of the project’s expenses will be covered by insurance,” Jan Haas, interim vice president of business and finance, said in an email.
Because North Central chose to replace the HVAC system rather than just decontaminating it, additional expenses were involved. Haas believes the investment is important for the health, well-being and peace of mind for students.