Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Administration & Finance

From: Ronnie Smith, Vice Chancellor, Administration and Finance
Subject: Hurricane Katrina Recovery – Update #27
Posted: October 17, 2006

The final repairs to the Dental School Clinic and Administration buildings and the Power Plant continue to progress, but somewhat more slowly as the majority of the contract work has been completed.  There remain a few additional tasks that need to be completed, and change orders are being issued for these repairs as costs are gathered and the work is approved.

The recent discovery of additional mold growth in parts of the Clinic and Administration building pose some new challenges.  Probably due to the continued humidity and varying temperatures within the buildings, the design team met with the Office of Facility Planning & Control and LSUHSC to plot out the course for addressing this challenge.  Some additional temporary repairs to the temporary chiller systems that are not yet operating, reducing or eliminating sources of outside air and the use of a number of portable dehumidifying units are part of the approach that has been developed.  A sub-contractor will also go through both buildings to inspect, test, and repair (as necessary) all of the air handling units to insure that they are operating properly.  Additional environmental remediation will also be required in the effected spaces and the specifications for that work are already being developed by the environmental consultant.  Once the temporary chillers, air handlers, blowers, etc. are operating properly we hope that the mold growth will be arrested, the conditions of the interior of the buildings will be stabilized and the final cleanup can begin.

At 1542 Tulane Ave., there are also a series of change orders contemplated.  Costs have been developed by the contractor and they are being assessed by the design team, FEMA, Facility Planning and LSUHSC before they are released.  Some work has been approved, but the past two weeks were largely consumed by testing for, locating and fixing natural gas leaks in the basement.  Now that the leaks have been found and repaired, the energizing of the building and testing of repaired electrical equipment can continue. 

Regardless of the progress in completing temporary repairs at the Dental School and at 1542 Tulane, the institution faces another significant challenge as we contemplate re-opening the upper floor spaces in any of these buildings.  A significant number of Facilities support staff are required to operate and maintain these large buildings once people and operations begin to move back in.  People in the trades (plumbers, electricians, etc.) and custodian staff are particularly difficult to recruit and retain in the current job environment in and around the city.  People have not returned to the city as rapidly as many had hoped and the competition for these skill sets is high.

Here are highlights of work that has been accomplished since our last update was posted two weeks ago.

Temporary Repairs to the Central Utility Plant on the Downtown Campus:  Work on the project continued throughout the last two weeks.

  • The VFD and the new filters in the Central Utility Plant are now connected and operating.
    • The rebuilt motor has been installed and aligned.
    • All of the electrical connections between the pump motor, the VFD, and the controls have been completed. 
    • On Friday, October 6th, the rebuilt pump motor and VFD were started up. 
      • The power and motor rotation were checked and verified at startup.  The rotation of the motor was correct and the mechanical subcontractors returned to make final adjustments to the alignment of the motor. 
      • The new VFD and rebuilt motor were allowed to run through the weekend and all of the following week to test the repairs and insure that they are operating properly.
    • On Friday, October 13th, the refurbished motor and VFD were still running and no problems have occurred during the test period.  This allowed Entergy to shut down the second motor and VFD so that the delayed maintenance could begin. 
      • The contractor began disconnecting the VFD and is preparing to incorporate the new filter.

Student Parking Lot Lighting Project:  The contractor has begun working on the project to make improvements to the lighting in the Student Parking Lots on the downtown campus. 

  • The contractor determined the location and layout for all of the new light poles in Student Lots #2 and #3. 
  • Timber piles were driven at the location of each new light pole on both the #2 and #3 lots.  These will support the footings for the new light poles.  By October 13th, all of the piles had been driven.
  • Trenches 18” wide and 30” deep will be dug for the underground conduit and electrical wiring for each light pole in the parking lots. 
    • The trenching for Lot # 3 has been completed and the conduit installed.  The trench has been backfilled and the task of pulling the electrical wiring through the conduit has begun.
    • The trenching for Lot #2 has also been completed.  Conduit is being installed and the trench is being backfilled as the installation is completed. 
    • As the electrical wiring is pulled, the contractor is preparing to make the electrical connections to the control boxes.
  •  The new metal light poles have been ordered and should be delivered within the next 2-3 weeks.  
  • Both of the Student Parking Lots (#2 & #3) have been and will be closed periodically during the construction to insure the safety of the students.

Temporary Repairs to 1542 Tulane Ave.:  Work on this project has been delayed for some time recently due to the presence of a natural gas odor in the basement.  Energizing the building and testing of the repaired electrical system was not allowed until the gas leak could be confirmed and repairs made.

  • Tests were initially conducted in the basement of 1542 Tulane Ave. using an electronic sensor/sniffer.  They were unable to detect any leaks using this method of testing.   
  • The architects and engineers developed an alternate method of testing, a price for this work was solicited and the contract was issued. 
  • The contractor pressure tested all of the natural gas lines in the basement.  They located and repaired 4 separate leaks. 
  • With the completion of this important work, we can return to the process of energizing the building. 
    • Entergy has contacted and has informed the contractor that they will be on site Monday, October 16th to energize the building. 
    • The contractor and our consulting engineers will be on site to support and observe the startup process.  Testing of the electrical repairs will follow.

Temporary Repairs to the Dental School Clinic and Administration Buildings:

  • The repairs to the block wall in the basement by the morgue and the chemical storage room have been completed.
  • The electrical contractor at the Dental School completed the removal of the 480V electrical service that was deactivated by Entergy. 
    • The contractor has roughed-in the electrical devices that are to be installed on the newly repaired block walls in the basement spaces.  
    • Lighting fixtures and devices are also being installed on the loading dock.
    • Light fixture switches are being installed at the loading dock area.
    • Light switches and duplex receptacles are being installed in the new switchgear room.
    • The contractor installed the identification tags and circuit directories in the new electrical panels.
  • The mechanical contractor has resumed the pipe labeling/identification of the water lines in the basement of the Dental School Administration Building. 
    • He has completed the labeling of the miscellaneous branches of water pipe and has begun labeling the drain pipe, which is the last of the pipe that must be labeled.
  • The Phase 1 electrical contractor is coordinating the removal of the old chiller pump motors and condenser pump motors in the Power Plant.  The pump removal has not yet been scheduled.
  • The elevator contractor is progressing with the repairs to the #3 elevator.
    • The travel cables and buffers have been replaced on Elevator #3 (in the Clinic Building).  The governor sheave and the governor cables have also been replaced.
    • He also has installed the control panels for the #3 elevator.  The panel box had to be modified to accommodate the additional switches & controls needed to operate the elevator.
      • He is wiring the switches and controls to the contacts in the panels, and the work is approximately 60% complete.
    • The contractor is also installing new light fixtures in elevator #3. 
    • The contractor is removing the call buttons on the 1st floor and in the basement of the Clinic Building. 
    • The contractor has removed the basement elevator (exterior) doors of elevator #3 so they can be replaced. 
  • The Dental School architects hosted a pre-bid conference for the Replacement/Repairs of the Fire Exit Doors & Hardware of the Clinic & Administration Buildings (the next phase of work required to attaining building occupancy of the upper floors).  Bids for this work are due October 17, 2006. 

 Miscellaneous Activities:

  • The elevator doors on the elevator that leads to the walkway by Stanislaus Hall have been replaced. 
  • The contractor making repairs to the incinerator located at the Dental School has discovered that the natural gas valve that supplies the incinerator was damaged.  LSUHSC Facility Services staff have ordered a replacement and will make the repair when the new valve arrives.

Future Notices:

  • There will be an emergency generator test on Tuesday, October 17th, at 5:30 PM at the Resource Center. There will be a flickering of lights, power, and elevator service between 5:30 PM and 6:30 PM.  This test is necessary in order for LSU to accept the contractor's work.
  • On Wednesday, October 18th from 8:00 AM until noon, the fire alarm system for the Walk to Wellness will have its annual inspection.  The contractor will be testing the audible alarms, visual alarms and the elevator recall for the two elevators along Gravier Street.  There will be no evacuation of the walkway.  We are notifying all to avoid any panic or confusion.

Please continue to follow our progress through our Daily Updates that are also available on the web site.