A new chilled water plant on South Green, expected to be completed in late spring 2020, will bring central air to more buildings on both West and East greens.
The project began construction in May 2019. Due to the university’s expansion, the current facilities were unable to reach the entirety of campus.
The original budget was approved at $30.85 million at the August 2018 OU Board of Trustees meeting, Jim Sabin, university spokesperson, said. An additional $725,000 was approved for the project by the board at the January 2019 meeting, according to a previous Post report.
The university’s two current chilled water facilities are located in Nelson Hall and near West Campus in the Lausche plant.
Washington Hall on East Green and James Hall on West Green will be two of the first buildings to receive the new facility’s services, replacing the buildings’ current individual air conditioning units. Like Washington and James, many of the buildings on campus were built in a time before air conditioning was a standard, Jon Cozad, executive director of design and construction, said.
“As our campus has grown or … as our occupants of our buildings on campus have grown to expect air-conditioned space, our need for that chilled water has grown as well,” Cozad said.
Washington Hall has air conditioners mounted in the windows, but it will have central air once construction is completed.
There are other buildings around campus that also have additional needs for chilled water, including Morton Hall, Cozad said. Morton has its own chiller, but Cozad said it’s old and not very reliable. That addition will take place in summer 2020.
Despite the project’s expected construction completion, the final completion of the project itself will take longer due to the process of commissioning, which is when the system is refined and tuned to ensure it is working optimally, Cozad said.
In summer 2020, a phase of the project will create a road closure on a portion of McKinley Avenue.