Summer Facilities Projects Outlined
The NMU Board of Trustees finance committee on Thursday received an update on planned and potential summer facilities projects. Most involve routine boiler, roof and window replacements. Nearly $1.4 million in maintenance work is scheduled, with funding from long-term maintenance funds, university reserves and bond proceeds. This work includes:
▪Rebuild the chiller and replace cooling coils in Cohodas Hall—the final steps in upgrading the building’s HVAC system. Also, crews will replace the aging air-conditioning in the computer server room and install an emergency generator for the server equipment.
“The A/C dry coolers for the computer server room are currently located in a recessed well on the roof,” said Kathy Richards (Facilities). “It’s not the ideal situation because the air doesn’t flow well around the units. We will locate the dry coolers and generator on the ground adjacent to the northwest corner of the building near the loading dock. There will be a metal-louvered screen wall around them.”
▪Expand accessibility in Forest Roberts Theatre with seating areas for up to five wheelchairs and space for five companion seats
▪Replace PEIF pool lighting, which will reduce the number of fixtures yet provide more light and save energy
▪Replace the 100-foot lighting pole on the southwest side of Jamrich Hall as part of a university energy-saving effort to phase out high-mast lighting in favor of poles 30-feet high on sidewalks and 40-feet high in parking lots
▪Install an irrigation system for the Superior Dome outdoor practice fields, which is being done in-house by grounds employees
▪Demolish the building formerly known as Whisker’s/Overtime and clear the area to create a pedestrian gateway to the sports complex according to the mixed-use development plan for Presque Isle Avenue.
NMU has also hired Johnson Controls for performance contracting on three buildings with high energy consumption: the Jacobetti Center, University Center and potentially Jamrich Hall. The company evaluated the buildings and recommended modifications that would make them more energy-efficient. Art Gischia (Business and Auxiliary Services) said the up-front cost for the contract, suggested improvements and monitoring systems is $2.8 million, which will be funded by guaranteed energy savings in excess of $200,000 per year.
Auxiliary capital projects funds and reserves will pay for the first phase of a multi-year remodeling project in the Marketplace based on Dining Services’ five-year master plan. The $350,000 project this summer includes replacing the two entrances on opposite sides of the dining room with a single, central entrance with two cashier stations, moving drink stations into the dining room, upgrading the freight elevator and making improvements to the loading dock area.
“The Marketplace is serving about 800 more meals per day than it was designed for,” said Gischia. “We’re seeing a lot of congestion in the prep, serving, seating and dish return areas because of the increased volume. We are looking at it from the master plan view and completing the work in manageable pieces over a few years.”
Potential projects that have not been finalized include renovating the former Hardees building. Gischia said they are studying the possibility of converting the facility into a combination late-night study area and coffee shop. The financial plan, with funding from auxiliary revenues, is being reviewed. Another potential project is the first phase of new campus entrance and directional signage for key areas of campus and trailblazer signage from selected points of entry, and along a designated route through the city to campus.
Projects in the design stage and their projected costs include requests for proposals to recoat or replace the roofing membrane on the Superior Dome, which has exceeded its life expectancy by five years, $3-4 million; roofing solutions for the Jacobetti Center, $1.5 million; and replacing three Honeywell systems—door access and security, fire alarm and energy management—because the hardware and software are no longer being supported by the manufacturer. The cost is $5 million over three phases. All of these projects would be funded with long-term maintenance funds and university reserves.