Postle Hall is set to receive $3.9 million of utility improvements starting July 1. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo Editor

The drilling soon to be heard throughout Postle Hall will not involve the College of Dentistry’s typical root canal procedures. They’ll be from Ohio State Energy Partners, which will soon begin improvements to the building’s utility system.

The purpose of the nearly $3.9 million of improvements is to provide utilities to Postle Hall for its expansion, said Ryan Wester, the technical manager of ENGIE Services. The updates will begin July 1 and last more than a year.

“We are going to provide natural gas, chilled water, steam and condensate and new medium voltage utilities,” Wester said. “It will benefit Postle Hall by providing a reliable efficient system for them to use.”

This project is the latest in a series of efficiency projects OSEP is undertaking across campus as part of the university’s energy privatization deal.

The water is provided from the South Campus Central Chiller Plant on Medical Campus, Wester said, and it is used for cooling and air conditioning.

“We will provide natural gas for the facility which will be used for laboratory and research needs and the medium voltage electric is to power the facility,” he said. “Steam and condensate will be used for heating and process needs, and even sterilization.”

Along with the expansion of utilities, there is going to be an upgrade to the South Neil tunnel’s steam piping, which will be coordinated with the Postle Hall project.

“This project will upgrade 360 feet of piping in the South Neil tunnel to support the Postle Hall expansion,” according to Board of Trustees documents. “The upgrade will enable steam supply to new buildings and renovations contemplated in the Health Sciences District.”

Wester said the upgrades also will impact Fry Hall and provide additional steam capacity to renovations at Hamilton Hall.

Currently, only the design for the South Neil steam capacity upgrade is complete. Construction for this project will begin in the 2020 fiscal year.

OSEP CEO Serdar Tufekci said the company created its design for the project first to mimic other university upgrades.

“We do not want to rush into construction of South Neil quickly because the risk is that we may install something bigger than necessary, which makes it a wasted investment,” Tufekci said. “We would like to see exactly how the Health Sciences projects will develop, so that we can optimize what we are going to do with the capacity upgrade.”