Construction seems to be a main feature on the University of Connecticut Storrs campus these days, and much of the renovations can be attributed to improving the outdated underground infrastructure.
The underground steam pipes near the Student Union were replaced and the bricks on top became concrete earlier this semester as part of infrastructure work on campus.
Some of the campus’ infrastructure, such as water lines, dates all the way back to 1914, while some steam pipes date back to the 1930s up to the 1960s, according to UConn Today.
“There has not been any significant infrastructure replacement in recent history,” Vice President of Facilities Operations and Building Services Mike Jednak said.
Not only are the pipes very old, but the conditions that some pipes were in was unknown in May of 2015, according to the campus master plan summary.
The issue with old age and unknown conditions is that whenever there is a problem, such as a crack in a pipe due to cold weather, can result in cancelled classes and other interruptions, according to UConn Today.
“The primary concern for us is interruptions to class schedules due to outages,” Jednak said.
Jednak said that this is a primary concern, and that when work is completed, there will be fewer cancelled classes and events.
“We will have more reliability, thus fewer disruptions to classes and improved energy efficiency,” Jednak said.
The work on the campus’ underground infrastructure is part of UConn’s Master Plan and is happening in part because of the Next Generation Initiative.
“The overall approach to utility infrastructure inthe Master Plan is to provide the capacity forfuture development in conjunction with UConn’s sustainability goals and commitment to climate neutrality by 2050,” according to the master plan summary.
The Next Generation Connecticut initiative was approved by Gov. Dannel Malloy in order to allow UConn to “transform its campuses and curriculum” over a 10 year period, according to UConn Today.