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Construction continues on MCCC campus

By Leah Thomas
On September 21, 2017

Workers lay the foundation for the new student study area in the L Buildiings.

A construction project that will transform the MCCC campus has begun.

The heating and cooling system was completed over the summer, but the construction did not stop there. 

The first phase of the $25 million renovation project approved by voters in 2016 is renovating the L Building. 

Heating, cooling system running

The new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system’s ribbon cutting ceremony was Wednesday, Aug. 30, in the A Building. 

It was the culmination of a two-year, $16.1 million project that will be paid back by the college over the next 20 years. 

It transformed the heating and cooling of most buildings on main campus, while providing major cost and environmental benefits. 

The Associated Press picked up a story about the college’s geothermal system, and it appeared in media across the country.  

The ribbon cutting ceremony was open to the public. Attendees walked outside of the building to enter the boiler room for the formal ribbon cutting. A brief tour and Q-and-A session followed. 

The ribbon cutting ceremony can be viewed at http://www.monroeccc.edu/media.htm. 

Although the construction portion of the campus-wide geothermal HVAC system project is complete, Jack Burns, director of Campus Facilities, and his team will continue to troubleshoot and fine-tune the system for about a year. 

“This next phase of the project is just as, if not more, important than the actual systems installation,” Burns wrote in an email to college employees. 
“We need your assistance during this crucial phase in order to have a successful final product.” 

The new system has been running since the end of May in all the buildings except the L Building. 

“For the most part it has worked fine minus some glitches, but we know that thermal comfort is not yet perfect throughout all of the spaces, and we need end-user input to help us get there.” 

Burns said they strive to keep the buildings somewhere in the ranges of 68°-72°F while in heating mode, and 72°-74°F during cooling. 

To fix problems efficiently, Burns needs to know what the problem is and when it started. 

“Please don’t feel that this is being a pest,” he said. “We will never be able to achieve the operational efficiencies that we need if we don’t hear from the end-users in ‘real-time.’ 

“It is extremely important that you do not wait days before reporting issues as doing so will only hinder us in our troubleshooting efforts.”

All feedback should come from professors and faculty, he said. Students can voice their concerns to professors, and the professors can pass it on at their discretion. 

L Building launches millage project

The first phase of the millage project is the addition of a student space and external structural repairs to the L Building. 

Burns is excited to give the L Building a face-lift.

“I hope it creates excitement and momentum,” he said. 

Burns said the workers conducted all the major demolition in the summer. Any noisy construction gets done early in the morning before classes start to minimize distraction in the classrooms. 

Workers are excavating and forming the footings. The contractor poured a “mud mat” for the forms to sit on in the wet dirt. 

Once the reinforcing steel cages are assembled and placed, they will start pouring the foundations.

Burns said a large crane removed the concrete panels from the L Building, and they installed the steel connectors for the light-gauge metal shade systems that will replace the concrete panels. 

Burns said the concrete panels had created a structural flaw in the building. 

The metal shades will fix the flaw and modernize the building. 

The masons are on site building the new brick ribs between the sections of curtain wall on the south side of the building. 

Burns said it will take several weeks to finish building the ribs. 

Brick is laid to form ribs on the south side of the L Building.

Once they are done, the first stage of the shade system will be installed.

Burns said they are taking a three-pronged approach to planning the design of each phase of the millage projects.

The steering committee, town hall meetings, and user groups are the prongs that bring each piece of the project to fruition.

Burns said the steering committee oversees overall design.

The town hall meetings are brainstorming sessions that give anyone the opportunity to share ideas, and the user groups are composed of people who work regularly in the buildings due for renovation. 

The college has created a website to keep the community up-to-date. 

The Five-Year Maintenance and Improvement Millage Project Updates and Information website is on the MCCC home page in the news section. 

People can also reach the site directly at http://www.monroeccc.edu/millageprojects/. 

The website is frequently updated with photos, building reports, and latest news articles.

Despite recent rain delays, the addition on the northwest side of the L Building is still scheduled to be complete by the end of December. 

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