Summer may be a time of rest and recuperation for many students and faculty after a busy academic year, but for Fort Hays State University's grounds, maintenance and construction crews, the work continues.
"While the rest of campus sleeps and rests, it's a fun time for us. It's a very busy time," said Dan Heater, director of FHSU's Physical Plant.
Maintenance crews have been hard at work on more than 100 projects, varying in time and complexity. Major projects included laying a new sewer line through the Quad from Memorial Union to Park Street and then repairing lawn that had to be dug for that project. Heater said that substantial amounts of rain have allowed the grass in these areas to grow and return to normal.
Many internal renovation projects have also been under way. Remodeling began last year on McCartney Hall's third floor and was completed this summer. Remodeling on the dean of the College of Education and Technology office in Rarick Hall, room 213, and the Career Service office, Sheridan Hall, room 214, are also nearing completion.
Painting projects this summer have been numerous, including interiors, exteriors, offices, residential halls, parking lots, racquetball courts and railings. The black lamp posts on campus have been transformed to a new bronze color. Extensive repairs are also in progress on Gross Memorial Coliseum's roof.
Aside from the typical aesthetic maintenance projects of upkeep and renovation, FHSU has begun a $4 million energy performance contract in conjunction with FHSU's Clean and Green Policy practices. Part of the Energy Performance Contract is the installation of a $1 million generator. The new generator will allow FHSU to produce up to 1,600 kilowatts of electricity, saving nearly $16,000 in peak energy billing per month, adding up to nearly $192,000 annually.
"It is always exciting when we can reduce or eliminate litter, reduce energy consumption, recycle and re-use," said Heater. "The most important thing about FHSU's Clean and Green program is that the entire university community can participate, make a difference, and can establish a high level of campus environmental stewardship and ecodemia."
FHSU's generator system is now in place, as are two new switch gears located in Rarick Hall and the power house on the west side of Aker's Energy Center. Testing of the systems will begin Aug. 9 and, if all goes well, should go on line the same week.
In other initiatives to take place throughout the 2004-2005 academic year, FHSU will replace all flush valves on campus to conserve nearly two gallons of water per flush, and install new ballast lighting systems that will enhance electrical conservation. New controllers and separators are being added to the boilers on campus, which will conserve gas and maximize production for steam for heating systems. Work on these projects will be completed the summer of 2005.
"We intend to save $500,000 per year on energy and utility costs as a result of our engineering upgrades," said Heater.
"It's a typical summer. We look forward to students and faculty coming back so we can go into our normal routines, but are ready for summer when it comes."