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Geothermal project targets October 2013 completion

Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor

Despite its share of problems and criticisms over the last two years, the multimillion dollar geothermal well project on South Campus is on schedule and on budget.
The former Hale Hall parking lot is now a geothermal well field with 148 wells completed and working in conjunction, said Cihangir Calis, senior project manager of facilities operations and development.
“The big push in June and July was to get the restoration done on the Hale lot,” Calis said. “Then we can turn that over into a student lot at the end of October.”
Along with Hale lot’s well completion, Calis also said crews have 120 of roughly 258 wells completed on the South Oval.
“Two weeks ago they started the horizontal piping on the South Oval,” Calis said. “The target is to have all of those wells wrapped up by May of next year.”
Calis said the horizontal piping will allow the fields to work together, and horizontal piping under 12th Avenue has already been completed.
The total cost of the South High Rise portion of the project is about $171 million, with $120 million going toward construction, Calis said.
Cihangir said 120 of the roughly 258 wells on the South Oval have been put into place.
He expects the project to be completed on time, by mid-to-late October 2013, and he said the project’s subcontractor, Minnesota-based Bergerson-Caswell, has been performing “very well.”
“They’re utilizing a little different method than the original contractor (Chesapeake Geosystems, Inc.). The wells are in very good shape, and they’ve got a well-seasoned crew,” Calis said.
The Lantern reported in November that the $10.3 million project was delayed after ineffective drilling methods prompted the university to part ways with Chesapeake Geosystems.
Calis said each well is eight inches in diameter from the ground to 75 feet deep, while the rest of the well is six inches in diameter. The wells are more than 500 feet deep.
According to the Board Of Trustees August meting agenda, more than 100 wells in the South Oval have been completed, and the wells are a month ahead of schedule.
Along with the wells in the South Oval and former Hale Hall parking lot, 50 additional wells have been completed and will serve the William H. Hall Complex south of the 11th Avenue parking garage.
According to the Knowlton School of Architecture media website, the William H. Hall Residential Complex is a residence hall located at 230 West 10th Avenue, on the corner of 10th and Neil. The residence hall will have suite-style housing for 537 students.
According to the OSU website “What’s Growing On?,” a 31 percent estimated average of university heating and cooling demands come from the South District residence halls.
The South District residence halls that will benefit from the wells include Stradley, Smith, Park, Siebert and Steeb halls. According to the OSU website “Sustainability,” “heat will be pulled from residence halls during summer months and as the weather turns colder, the system will use ground heat to warm the South High Rises and the new residence (halls).”
Despite the improvements in heating and cooling, students are still skeptical about the construction.
“I’m just kind of annoyed that it took them longer than they thought,” said Andrew Blechman, a second-year in business. “They can’t control how hard the ground is, but I kind of just wish it was done because it has looked hideous the past few years.”
Matt Vadnais, an OSU theater lecturer, said he understands why the process is lengthy but isn’t a fan of the congested parking on campus.
“I get that it takes a long time,” Vadnais said. “But for me, the big thing is it reroutes traffic and puts a strain on a parking system that’s pretty strained.”

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