House: Late renovations cause problems on campus

By and

The U is planning to replace 65,000 feet of hot water piping on campus. The replacement of dated, corroded pipes, expected to cost $30 million and possibly take five years, was only pursued after persistent failures.

We wonder why these repairs weren’t made before the system had become seriously outdated and plagued with leaks.

The piping project is just the latest example of the U putting off repairs and remodeling until the last minute. Fire sprinklers were installed in the Union last year just before remodeling plans forced the U to bring the building up to code. The U began campus electrical equipment upgrades last year only after the old equipment caused consistent blackouts.

These upgrades are not only inconvenient, but also pose safety hazards. Asbestos insulation wasn’t even removed from parts of the Union until May of this year.

Besides procrastinating repairs, several recent construction projects have been delayed. With school starting, the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs, the Union Programming Council, The Chronicle and the student groups that normally occupy the CORC room are still waiting for their work spaces to be finished.

Aside from the inconvenience, late completion is costing the U money. A setback here or there is understandable, but several projects in the Union are running several weeks behind, with construction costing thousands of dollars per day.

The same logic applies to utility repairs. The new piping system is designed to be able to catch breakage and failures before they happen. Hopefully this will make it easier to fix problems or replace the system before problems become widespread.

We won’t begrudge the U for wanting to make some repairs, but in the future they shouldn’t wait until utilities such as the piping system are on the brink of collapse.

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