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The department finished the central energy plant renovation in April 2012 at a cost of nearly $1.6 million, which includes repairs required due to the arc-flash explosion and the cost of equipment rental, McKelvey says. The new chillers, coupled with the redesign of the pumping systems, cooling-tower upgrades, and the new control systems, will save the university more than $185,000 annually in utility and maintenance costs.
Lamb also re-emphasized the role of the department's personnel in the project's ultimate success.
"UA is fortunate to have a highly skilled and hard-working maintenance staff, and the UA maintenance employees were instrumental from day one," Lamb says. "UA's organizational model for maintenance is to staff the department with the skills needed to perform almost any work required to maintain the campus on a daily basis.
"We have proved it is financially beneficial to be self-sufficient and not be dependent on outside contractors. As a result, UA maintenance employees did a significant amount of the actual work required to install the new chillers, pumps, control systems, and the various other equipment."
Lamb adds that maintenance employees worked around the clock to help install the rental equipment and re-establish cooling to the campus buildings, and they helped analyze the existing equipment after the arc-flash explosion to determine which components worked and what did not.
In-House Maintenance Staff Boosts Alabama's Bottom Line In Renovation