A $2 million upgrade for Spellmann Center was approved by the Lindenwood Board of Directors on Friday, university officials said.
“This gives us the opportunity to start day one with all of the equipment to be very proactive and preventative with what we do,” said Diane Moore, assistant vice president of campus facilities. “So checking filters, making sure we’re checking generators, all of those things are things we will begin doing on an annual or semiannual basis.”
Moore assumed her position last summer. She said that being new, one of the first things she did was make assessments on the state of Lindenwood’s facilities.
She said that she believes there is a lot her department can do to increase the sustainability of older buildings on campus, and the Spellmann Center caught her attention early on.
“Spellmann was my first building because I came in July, and in July and August we lost the cooling in that building two different times,” she said.
When she hired a team of engineers to assess the building, they gave the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system a D grade, using a standard grading scale. The building’s electrical systems scored an A, and plumbing got a B+ due to some hard water issues.
Moore said the current heating and cooling systems have had a lot of mechanical issues and cannot carry the heating and cooling load needed to handle the worst of summer and winter.
According to the financial documents for the construction, the estimated savings will be about $276,300 a year. The estimated cost of modernizations and energy reduction measures will be just under $1.9 million. It is estimated that the modernizations will be paid back in just under seven years.
“One of the biggest things that you can do is change out your lighting to LEDs,” Moore said. “So we will switch all existing lights, and we are going to do this campus-wide. Spellmann happens to be the first building we’re doing it in.”
The modernizations will be going ahead despite budget shortfalls. University officials have said there will be a $10 to $14 million shortfall in the university’s operating budget due to an approximate 5 percent decrease in overall enrollment during the 2016-2017 school year.
Specialized staff is being brought in to help maintain the improvements. Two new HVAC staff have been hired to work on campus as “the first line of defense” when problems do arise, Moore said. New sensors on the equipment will help provide better troubleshooting and save energy. For more serious problems, Matheny will still be called to help around campus.
“If we can hold our cooling and hold our heating at a level that it’s supposed to be, that’s going to make it more comfortable for learning and more comfortable for teaching,” she said.