Climate control plant under construction in townhouses

The construction site between Saratoga Terrace and Southside will soon be the location of a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning plant to benefit the Saratoga townhouses.

The new HVAC plant will replace the faulty system that is currently installed. "Each unit right now is individually heated and air conditioned," said George Stooks, assistant vice president for Facilities and Planning. "The forced air furnaces unevenly heat the units."

In March 2005, the college filed a lawsuit against QPK Design, the firm that provided the blueprints for the faulty system, following complaints from townhouse residents that bedrooms were uncontrollably too hot or cold.

Since then, plans for the improved plant have been in the works. The new plant will solve the problem of uneven heating in the townhouses by completely replacing the current system in favor of the centralized plant.

According to Stooks, the project went out to bid in early spring of last year preceding the current budget issues, although cuts have not affected the project.

"What students don't realize is the money for these kinds of projects doesn't come from the state operating budget," Stooks said.

Construction has been scheduled so that no apartment is without heat during the academic year, and the biggest impact on students will be pedestrian detours. The completed system is projected to be in use for fall 2009.