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Construction at the RPAC loop repairs steam lines, $15M bill

William Klein / Lantern photographer

Campus construction continues near the RPAC as steam lines that will cost more than $15 million will run to the new Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute and critical care tower are being replaced.

In the areas between the RPAC and Ohio Stadium, the first phase is currently in progress, which will fix steam lines on the path that runs to the McCracken Power Plant.

There will be additional phases added to this steam-line project for the new medical tower, said Glen Yoder, director of facilities design and construction. Phase two will begin in March or early April once the first phase is complete and contracts are signed for the second.

Total construction costs for the first-phase project is $4.4 million, Yoder said. He said they are currently under budget for this phase. The total project construction budget is $15.5 million.

“It is an aging problem that has had some repair issues,” Yoder said. “This was good timing to get this done now from a condition standpoint (to accommodate the hospital).”

If the pipes were to fail, it would mean heat deficiency and the inability to make hot water for the buildings the line serves, Yoder said.

“We don’t want to wait until they have failures to replace them,” Yoder said. “We try to anticipate the need and replace (the lines) before a total failure.”

The construction area of the first phase hasn’t caused any changes to traffic routes but has unsettled some students.

“I don’t really have to change my route a whole lot other than getting across, but it’s definitely unsightly,” said Leah Ward, a fourth-year in microbiology. She said she had to walk past the area multiple times daily.

Ward said she felt more frustrated with the construction in this area when she had classes in the Biological Sciences Building Fall Quarter and had to walk around the construction site.

Don Stenta, director of Recreation Sports, said this construction in the RPAC loop has not triggered any complaints from members of the RPAC.

“I haven’t heard one complaint about it. I’m shocked, I really am because it just looks like a really big project … when things need replaced, we replace them,” Stenta said. “But no, I haven’t heard one complaint about it actually.”

Michelle Robbins, a fourth-year in evolution and ecology, said this particular construction isn’t what bothers her, it’s the construction on Woody Hayes Drive that has added an additional 10 minutes to her commute.

“It’s cold and it’s the winter so you want to park closer so you don’t have to walk as far,” Robbins said.

The final phase of the project will place steam lines running from south of the stadium to the area around Lincoln and Morrill Tower, Yoder said.

There will also be lines south to a new chiller plant on the corner of 12th Avenue and Cannon Drive. This will cause Cannon Drive to be closed this summer for construction, Yoder said.

“The project will be phased in such a way as to minimize disruption,” Yoder said.

Construction on the second phase is scheduled for completion in August 2013.

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