posted on Oct. 25: E.T. Clarke Centre upgrade plans under way


[img_inline align=”right” src=”” caption=”E.T. Clarke building”]The design and tendering process for two upgrade projects totalling $11 million at the central utilities plant in the E. T. Clarke Centre is under way.

Renovations and additional equipment will ensure campus buildings have adequate emergency power and cooling systems. The Board of Governors approved the design process at its Oct. 19 meeting.

Phase One of the renovations includes installing a new emergency power generating system and campus cabling infrastructure, estimated to cost about $1.5 million. The A. N. Bourns Building and the Health Sciences Centre are not included in this plan.

Al Paskevicius, manager of the utilities service group, physical plant, said the new system is required to handle existing needs and future approved expansion. “The campus has grown over time and there's been an increase in the demand for emergency power,” he said. “It's a life safety issue. If we have a blackout we can't allow all the lights to go out on campus. We simply have to upgrade for capacity issues.”

Paskevicius said the campus also needs improved cooling capabilities.
Four of eight cooling towers, which provide chilled water to campus buildings, will be renovated or replaced so the University's air- conditioning system will work efficiently during the summer months. The work is estimated to cost about $1.5 million.

Four of the towers have been renovated and the four remaining towers are about 30 years old and made of wood, Paskevicius said. “They need to be upgraded because of age and again, capacity issues,” he said. “We didn't have a normal summer as it was relatively cool or rainy. If last summer had been as hot as the previous two it would have been a challenge.”

The former teachers' college building renovation also poses a challenge for the cooling system. The building never had a central air-conditioning system and once renovated it will house several computers from the Faculty of Engineering's expanded engineering software and electrical & computer engineering programs.

“There will be a lot of computers and a lot of demand on the cooling system,” Paskevicius said. “It's going to be fairly intense.”

Phase Two of the utilities plant upgrade includes adding additional equipment and space to house the equipment.

Eight million dollars will be spent on adding more building space as the University's chilled water capacity is expanded and replacing existing chilling equipment.

Expansion of the E.T. Clarke Centre will have an impact on parking in Zone 3. Eighty-seven parking spaces will be lost due to this expansion, says John Abraham, manager, parking & transit services. (Abraham says an additional 195 spaces will be lost when the new residence is built. Of the 282 spaces lost, 108 will be regained through the expansion of the Zone 3 parking annex near the former teachers' college.)