Steam pump repair causes loss of heat in library

Kaelia Neal, Editor in Chief

Linfield facilities planned a project to repair a steam pump in the library during spring break, which has caused the building to be without heat since Monday.

“The pump that supplies steam to the building needed to be replaced. When they got that running, they found a unit in Nicholson that needed repair,” said Marilee Siewert, the Cleaning Services Coordinator for facilities at Linfield.

The heat was supposed to be restored on Thursday, but the unit in the Nicholson mechanical room caused a delay.

“The steam was turned back on this morning about 9:30 a.m., so temperatures are getting back to normal,” Allison Horn, Director of Facilities and Auxiliary Services, said.

Nicholson, Ford, and Facilities Building staff members were informed via email on Wednesday, March 22, that this project would be taking place during spring break to minimize the impact on students. However, there are 15 library staff members who are affected when these projects take place.

“Some staff worked at home on Tuesday and Wednesday,” Library Director Susan Barnes Whyte said. “I didn’t want them to get sick or get too cold at work.”

Members of the community also use Linfield’s library, and one lady who regularly uses the library’s resources left because of the cold.

To accommodate the cold, space heaters have been set out in the library, which are usually available for these types of projects. However, “the library is still chilly,” Barnes Whyte said.

“As an overview, we’ve been experiencing problems in the streamline trench between Facilities and HP Park, which has resulted in flooding in the steam vault,” Horn said in email sent to staff members.

“This week we installed a pump in the steam vault designed to handle extreme water temperatures for two main reasons: The cost of installing so many hi-temp submersible pumps that can’t handle the conditions, and the risk of employee injury replacing pumps every few weeks is too great,” Horn said.

Last summer, testing of the steam piping system revealed that there were leaks in the system.

“I believe the next step would be to replace the next section of steam pipe between SW6 and SW5 by the Music center, but that is quite expensive and extremely disruptive,” Tom Barker said in an email. “This will require considerable planning and coordination.”