May 05, 2016
Spring is a time for cleaning and renovating at home, and at McGovern Medical School it’s no different. I asked UTHealth Vice President of Facilities Wes Stewart to provide details on upcoming renovation projects for our Medical School Building.
The Background and Funding:
The University received $80M from UT System to modernize the aged infrastructure of the McGovern Medical School, the School of Public Health, and the University Center Tower buildings. At McGovern Medical School, the top priority projects that will begin this fiscal year are: a complete modernization of all elevators; the addition of 4,000 square feet of office space on the first floor (located above the Dean’s suite and the Learning Resource Center, LRC) and replacement of all (16) air handlers in the penthouse.
When is the elevator modernization project starting?
We have been working on the design, specifications, and bidding process for over six months. Although we are in the process of awarding the contract, there is a long lead time to produce all of the components. Actual construction is scheduled for December 2016.
How long will it last?
What elevators will be included?
All 10 elevators in the Medical School Building are part of this project, and the elevators in the Medical School Expansion will be outfitted with the monitoring system, which notifies us when elevators are down.
Why are we embarking upon this elevator project?
The elevators have become increasing problematic. The last major upgrade that included replacement of the machine room controllers (the large computer system/brains that operate the elevators) was 15 years ago. The modern components we plan to install are more efficient, safe, and reliable.
How will the elevators be different after the project?
There will be less down time. In addition to more modern components, a university-wide elevator monitoring system will be installed that will alert the elevator maintenance company (and the Facilities Department) when an elevator malfunctions. Also included are new lobby floor indicators that will notify passengers when an elevator is out of service.
Is there anything we can do as users to help maintain elevator functionality?
Be careful when using carts. For safety reasons, doors are sensitive. Also, holding doors open can cause an elevator to malfunction, requiring a technician to reset the system.
What is the status of the office expansion project on the first floor?
There are three sections of offices planed; a 2000 square-foot section over the Dean’s suite and the Grab-N-Go, and two 1000 square-foot sections over the east and west sides of the LRC. The construction contract for the area over the Dean’s suite has been awarded to Vaughn Construction and will take place between May 2016 and October 2016. The first step of this phase will be to build a temporary Grab-N-Go at the Fannin entrance, so the permanent Grab-N-Go can be re-located during construction. The office spaces above the LRC are currently out to bid. The exact schedule is still to be determined.
What is the background of this project?
When the new hydrostatic perimeter wall was built after Tropical Storm Allison, the ground floor was expanded out to the new wall. The first floor was not. This left an opportunity for us to “infill” between the original perimeter wall and new hydrostatic wall.
How many offices will be added? Where?
There will be a total of 26 new offices; 14 above the Dean’s suite and 12 above the LRC.
How long will this project take?
The goal is to have all of the offices ready for occupation by January 2017. Once complete, this space will be used as transitionary office space during the office renovations on floors 1-7 described below.
Are there any other big projects for the MSB on the horizon?
Other projects currently in design are: office renovations on floors 1-7 to include the replacement of ductwork, mixing boxes, temperature control sensors, lighting and interior finishes; replacement of the outside diesel generator that supplies emergency power to freezers and other critical equipment; replacement of autoclaves (9 of 15) 20 years or older; upgrading 1 restroom per floor to be ADA compliant; replacement of aged electrical plumbing equipment; and the upgrade of other interior finishes (as funding permits). Construction is scheduled to take place over the next five years. Project updates will be communicated through newsletters and the monthly Facility Advisory Council meeting.
Thank you to Wes for this informative update. We look forward to seeing these important projects completed.
I will need to move my office during the office renovations. HAPPY SPRING CLEANING TO ALL OF US!