A new water system that will provide hot water on demand to the buildings in the South Quad was implemented over winter break.
Mark Hudson, the director of Housing and Dining, said since last summer the university was working on preparing to do a hot water switch over for the entire South Quad, a project that started in the spring of 2018.
He said they visited other campuses to see what the greatest way to provide hot water was, and the best solution was found at the University of Illinois.
“So we worked with their engineers to figure out what we needed (at Eastern) so we ordered all the equipment,” Hudson said.
Before the project, each building in the South Quad had its own huge storage tank that keeps hot water in it, Hudson said, but this method did not utilize the most current technology.
“These new systems are on-demand systems, so they can crank out 125 gallons of hot water a minute per machine,” Hudson said. “You don’t have to keep 1,000 gallons hot all the time, it’s on demand so you’re heating up what you’re using.”
Hudson said as a result this half a $1 million system is more efficient for the university and also takes care of a lot of deferred maintenance produced by the old system.
Aside from just producing hot water, Hudson said the new system also has a water treatment plant built into it so it takes more minerals out of the water or water softening it, resulting in improved water quality.
Brian Gough, the associate director for facilities and the person behind most of the planning for the new system, said this will process will help extend the life of equipment in the dining centers as well as in the shower rooms.
“That is particularly important for a dining operation because the more calcium you can take out of the water, the less it fouls machinery,” Hudson said. “The other thing there should also be some enhanced water pressure as well. That will also be well received.”
This source of water and new hot water system will only be provided for the South Quad because of its size.
“We did everything in house and our guys have done an amazing job. It’s amazing and it looks great,” Gough said. “This is something we needed.”
The money for the system came from a project fund that Housing and Dining has that comes from money students living on campus paid over the years.
The project fund is about $4 million, Hudson said, and he said they want to spend that on projects that are expected to “enhance the services of the residence halls.”
This money currently in the project fund comes from people who live on campus and pay for housing and dining, Hudson said.
But Hudson said after this school year there will be more money from the operating budget that will be able to feed the project fund further and help renovate other things in the residence halls such as replacing old water tanks.
“Our intentions in these projects are always how to make sure students get the very best service uninterrupted,” Hudson said.
As for water tanks and hot water systems in other buildings on campus, Hudson said each building is different, and they do not need an on demand system such as the new one in the South Quad.
Gough said that as of right now the buildings are working within its systems, but the tanks that are providing hot water to buildings such as Weller Hall are old.
“If they start to leak, there are certain ways (the tanks) have to be patched, and that’s just too expensive,” Gough said. “They’re older tanks, and you just don’t want to put that kind of money into them.”
Gough and Hudson said the university will eventually have to replace the tanks, something they already did at McKinney Hall during the summer of 2018.
Hudson said when these tanks are replaced in the future they will not be replaced with an on-demand system but something that is still efficient.
Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]