BDAC air conditioner out until spring

Posted Thursday, September 13, 2007 - 12:00am

Anyone that came to the BDAC this past summer to play racquetball, lift weights or shoot hoops knows one thing for sure ... the BDAC was hot. Not the kind of hot one desires ... like a steamy glance from your lover. But the kind of hot that comes from a brick building absorbing the heat of the sun all day in July and then radiating that heat to the trapped air and people within.

Shirley Cooper, BDAC public relations person, listened to and commiserated with the members' complaints all summer. "No one should have to exercise in this heat," she often repeated. "Especially our older members, it's just not healthy."

Norm Patterson and Larry Madrigal, longtime members of the BDAC would inform everyone when they arrived at 5 a.m. what the outside temperature was that morning. If the outside air temperature was 75 or 80 degrees, and almost every morning it was, it's safe to say the air temperature inside the BDAC was above 90 degrees. Keep in mind that's at 5 a.m. after the building had cooled all night. At 3 p.m. patrons must have felt as if they were in a giant convection oven. The heat baked away any motivation they entered the building with. What little air movement there was felt like standing in front of a blow dryer set on stun.

The story starts back in April 2007. The story actually starts before then, if you go back to the date funding was approved for a new roof and a new cooling and heating system for the BDAC. According to CEU's Vice President of Finance Kevin Walthers, the "capital improvement funding has been in place for the new roof and the new cooling/heating system for two cycles of the state legislature."

"The heating and cooling was problematic so they were going to replace the whole thing. They [state] were actually going to use money over two funding cycles [legislative] to do that.

"This is where I get fuzzy about why it's not completed. The architect is taking too long with the drawings or the equipment is not available ... I've gotten both of those [reasons] from them. Really as far as I'm concerned, I don't care why it's not done, I just want it finished. And I've complained vociferously to Craig Wessman and to Wessman's boss Vic Middleton. We are waiting to receive equipment for installation is my understanding. [Apparently] there's a back order on it. I don't want to be too hard on DFCM because they do a pretty good job overall, but this project has been a disaster, he said."

The important thing for us as students, staff and members of the BDAC however, is the swamp coolers located in the roof of the basketball gym came out and were replaced with skylights in fall 2006. The swap took place because the new cooling system did not include use of the existing swamp coolers. The plan was to have a new cooling system installed and operating before summer 2007.

Shortly before CEU's commencement on May 5, 2007 which was held in the BDAC gym, two portable swamp coolers were purchased by the school to help cool the room for the graduates their families and friends. These coolers, according to the manufacturer's website, are rated for cooling 2,500 square feet each, that's 5,000 square feet total. The gym itself, not including the rest of the building, is 13,000 square feet. These two portable coolers and several small fans have been relied upon to cool the entire building for the duration of the summer.

The problem was exacerbated by water pumps in the portable coolers continually breaking down, effectively turning the coolers into large fans for much of the summer. Pulling warm July air into the building was for the most part, counter-productive.

Athletic Director and Women's Basketball Coach Dave Paur, and Volleyball Coach Brent Martindale have had to take the brunt of the complaints from the community and from coaches, staff and players of the many camps and groups that used facilities offered by CEU and the BDAC throughout the summer.

"Our summer football camps alone brought in more than $50,000 this summer," Martindale said. "Add in the camps for women's and men's basketball, volleyball, plus youth conferences and other groups, and we are talking about a significant amount of money that comes into our school and community each year. Coach Dan Allen and I work hard to bring these groups into our facility and when we can't deliver a quality product, it's disappointing. Several coaches from Wasatch Front schools indicated they may not be back next year."

Martindale also pointed out that if it were not for A-1 Rentals donating the use of a couple large industrial fans while the camps were in progress, the heat in the gym would have been simply unbearable.

Paur is quick to point out the trouble with the cooling system is temporary and that by next summer the problem should be repaired. "We hope members of the community and the coaching staffs of the schools that use our facility will give us the benefit of the doubt and come back again next summer.

I feel worst when I think about our staff having to work for many hours in this heat. It's one thing to come in for an hour and workout; it's quite another thing to have to work hour after hour, day after day in these conditions. Kind of make me wonder why the powers that be didn't start the roof replacement and installing the new cooling system in September," Paur added.

Craig Wessman works for the Division of Facilities Construction and Management. He manages construction projects for the State of Utah. His job is entails hiring architects to design buildings, and designing modifications for existing buildings, including their infrastructure such as heating and cooling systems. Wessman then hires contractors to perform the construction or the modifications. He also manages flow of information between the state, contractors and institutions receiving the work.

According to Wessman, a design plan for the new cooling system for the BDAC gymnasium (only) was supposed to be on his desk at the end of October '06 from the firm of Scott P. Evans Architect & Associates PC with headquarters in Bountiful, Utah. These plans were not delivered to Wessman until February '07.

At that time, because of additional funding from the state legislature in early '07, it was decided to combine the upgrades for the heating and cooling system for the entire BDAC and to seek bids for the expanded project.

The bids came back to Wessman in April '07 but because of the rising costs of heating and cooling equipment, the bids were over budget.

In June '07 bids were requested in an effort to reduce the scope of work in order to stay under budget. Those bids were due Sept. 11, 2007.

The modifications and upgrades to the BDAC's heating and cooling system have been broken into two phases. The first phase which is the bid Wessman should have on his desk as The Eagle goes to press, will be to provide cooling for the gymnasium only. If the plans and cost meet his approval, work should begin this fall and should be completed in spring '08. The second phase of construction which will provide heating and cooling to the rest of the building, should be completed sometime in early summer '08.

We're going to have a real issue next year with our athletic camps, we're going to have to do a really good job of calling everyone who was here this year and saying"hey the air conditioning is fixed everything will be good this time."

"Maybe we should get some T-shirts that say, 'I survived the BDAC summer '07," walther quipped.

There may be a silver lining to this story according to Walthers, "The good that's going to come out of it is in the future when we have projects, instead of having to rely on someone from Salt Lake to be our project manager who can't be down here every day, we can have Sheila Burghardt [CEU's maintenance supervisor] manage it and hire contractors locally and I think that will be a bonus for us.

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