Hot Water Loop Construction Under Way

SOCORRO, N.M. March 5, 2010 – Construction crews have begun initial groundwork in preparation for the replacement of the underground utility network on campus.

TLC Plumbing crews have marked the ground between the dorms and the library and have begun digging “potholes.” Construction work will create noise and traffic disruptions for several months. Crews will be working on campus from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Beginning March 8, construction crews will be cutting into the basement floors and/or walls of several buildings in Zone 1, including Brown Hall, the Tech gym, the boiler plant behind Fitch Hall and Driscoll Hall. This work is in preparation for linking these buildings to the new loop.

Workers will begin digging a trench from Fitch to Brown Hall during the week of March 15. Gates have been erected to cordon off the area of the first section of trench. The main trench will be about 10 feet wide and 7 feet deep in the first section and 4 feet deep in most parts of campus. Once the new pipes are installed, the trench will be extended from Brown Hall to Cramer Hall. Dirt from the new section of trench will be used to backfill the first section. Work will continue on the main trench before the buildings in the first section are connected.

Also, crews have identified four trees between Fitch Hall and Weir Hall that need to be removed.

The Tech website will have regular updates on traffic and utility disruptions throughout the project.

The work will be conducted in phases to minimize disruptions in utility services.

  • Area 1 includes Fitch Hall, Driscoll Hall, Wells Hall, Brown Hall, Tech Gym and Cramer Hall, scheduled from February to June.
  • Area 2 includes Skeen Library, Weir Hall, MSEC, Speare Hall and ISD, scheduled from April to July.
  • Area 3 includes Jones Annex, Fidel Center and Workman, scheduled from June to September.
  • Area 4 includes the Gold Building and the PRRC, scheduled from August to October.
  • Area 5 includes Macey Center and Jones Hall, scheduled for October.
  • Area 6 includes West Hall, Presidents Hall and the SAC, scheduled for October to November.

The hot water loop provides both heat and hot water to all campus buildings. The system is outdated and has suffered many breakdowns in recent years. In 2009, the state legislature approved funding to replace the entire system.

TLC Plumbing and Heating of Albuquerque was awarded the contract in mid-December 2009 with a bid of $4.3 million.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech