Campus construction continues

Facilities Services progresses with Dicke Hall, water leak projects

Two construction projects are in progress across Trinity’s campus. First there is the Dicke Hall project, which is near completion and will open next fall, along with an ongoing water leak project affecting both upper and lower campus.

Dicke Hall

James Baker, senior director of Facilities Services, discussed the development of Dicke Hall and its features.

“We are on schedule and [the building] will be complete for the fall semester,” Baker said. “I like the building because it is open with solid glass along the front … it is definitely student friendly.”

In addition to continuing progress in compliance with Trinity’s historic district status and the Campus Master Plan, Dicke Hall will complete the Chapman-Halsell-Dicke complex and house the Trinity Humanities Collective along with the English and religion departments.

Baker explained that Facilities has been afforded technology that will capture condensation for the complex’s water usage. Students will be able to see the volume of water retained, as well as when the buildings have to switch to San Antonio’s water supply. In addition, there will be solar panels installed on the roof to provide energy for the hall.

Victoria Bell, a senior psychology major with minors in Spanish and religion, commented about the plan for Dicke Hall and what it means for the religion department.

“I think it’s a great plan,” wrote Bell in an email. “It’s great that there will be a new space to engage in academic conversation and learning for the religion department and other departments … it’s nice to know the department will get its own space.”

Water Leak Updates

On Jan. 24, Tess Coody-Anders, former Vice President for Strategic Communications and Marketing, notified the Trinity Community that a water leak was impacting the heating capacity of all buildings on upper campus and Murchison Hall. Initially, the leak was expected to be resolved within a matter of days by Facilities, but there was a larger underlying problem.

Caden Erickson, a junior anthropology major and Murchison Hall resident, was on campus early to train as a member of the cross country and track teams. He and his roommates were informed on Jan. 23 that they would be without hot water.

“One of the first issues that the university addressed was offering us a location to take showers as the water we had access to in our dorm was ice-cold. The second accommodation Trinity made was offering us a small space heater in order to increase comfort in our living space,” Erickson wrote by email. “Trinity did a good job keeping us informed, expediently returning our hot water, and providing accommodations … the current construction hasn’t affected us in any way except for being a minor inconvenience in terms of getting to class and noise throughout the day.”

Baker explained that the large tank surrounded by hoses and construction tape in front of the George M. Storch Memorial Building is a temporary boiler that provides hot water for upper campus and Murchison.

“We could dig a trench from the boiler site along the Murchison sidewalk by the tennis courts to tie into the vault, but the pipes are too deep,” Baker said. “We could also scratch through the limestone down the escarpment to the vault, but it would be loud.”

This leaves the Facilities team with several options of how and when to proceed. One option is to start the repairs starting in the summer of 2022.

“I only have 60 days until the [graduating class] graduates [and] until the first-years step on campus,” Baker said. “So we can get the pipe buried but we won’t be able to restore the sidewalks [in that amount of time].”

The other option is to start digging in April and May and then restore the affected area completely in June and July. Baker emphasized that students and faculty, especially in Storch and Residential Life, will be consulted in making the decision of when to start the repairs.

Baker also discussed how there were once three pipes connecting the entire campus’ hot water and heating supply.

“We lost the center pipe from Murchison to the [William H.] Bell Center two years ago. And now we’ve lost the pipe from Murchison to upper campus,” Baker said.

Now, only one pipe on campus remains, which connects from Murchison to Witt-Winn. Baker said that this pipe was installed around the same time as the others that failed and is made of the same kind of material. Thus, there is a plan in place to replace the piping in this area with new, non-corrosive pipe around the Witt-Winn, Miller and Calvert first-year residence halls. If there is a failure in the last pipe, Baker said, Facilities will be 90% set up to quickly avert the crisis and restore hot water on east lower campus.