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Committee briefed on buildings, grounds

By Sookhan Ho

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 13 - November 21, 1996

Donaldson Brown Center renovations and a new animal-waste facility were among the capital projects discussed at the November 11 meeting of the Board of Visitors' Buildings and Grounds Committee.

Vice President for Finance and Treasurer Ray Smoot, Assistant Vice President for Facilities Spencer Hall, and Campus Planning Architect Scott Hurst briefed committee members on the status of some two dozen buildings-and-grounds projects in various stages of design, bidding, and construction.

Hurst presented the schematic design for an addition on the west side of the Donaldson Brown Center which would add about 6,000 square feet in conference or banquet space, or about 500-600 additional seats. Committee members voted to approve the addition, the construction of which will depend on the availability of funding.

The proposed addition is part of a larger effort to renovate and expand Donaldson Brown and Alumni Hall. Two other projects are the installation of a sprinkler system throughout the facility, bids for which have been received, and the conversion of 25 offices in Alumni Hall back to hotel guest rooms, for which working drawings and specifications are currently being prepared.

Hall said that preliminary work is under way to identify the size and operation of a new animal-waste facility that would enable the university to process 3,000-4,000 pounds a week of animal wastes--primarily animal carcasses resulting from veterinary and agricultural research--without resorting to off-site disposal contractors at prohibitive costs. Regulated medical waste will continue to be shipped to off-campus treatment and disposal sites.

Smoot said the facility would most likely be located next to the veterinary-medicine complex, and will use a "dry-rendering" technology, which uses steam autoclaving and mechanical means to turn wastes into harmless solid and liquid by-products that can be safely disposed of in landfills and sanitary-sewage systems.

Smoot said the university had originally intended to build a new incinerator that would comply with more stringent federal and state clean-air regulations. However, the more demanding regulations have also made it more expensive to construct a replacement incinerator and time-consuming to obtain a permit to construct a new incinerator.

Examining alternative treatment and disposal strategies in consultation with the Waste Policy Institute, university officials settled on dry rendering as the most appropriate technology. They are considering dry-rendering equipment adopted by the Canadian government's agriculture department, AgCanada. Earlier this year, university representatives traveled to Winnipeg, Manitoba, to examine dry rendering-equipment being installed at a new AgCanada facility. Last week, Smoot said, consulting engineers came to campus to further discuss the technology with university administrators.

The Donaldson Brown renovation and animal-waste facility are among nine projects that are in various stages of the design phase. These buildings include the Advanced Communications and Information Technology Center, which is in construction design; two new residence halls between Payne and Lee Halls that will provide a total of 440 beds, and a third, new, 260-bed residence hall adjacent to Cochrane Hall.

In the bidding phase are three projects, including the Athletic Facility Addition. The Student Health and Fitness Center is expected to be bid later this month. Seven other projects are well under construction.

In this group, Hall said, is the new engineering building, which is scheduled to be completed next June. The track-soccer complex is expected to be completed this month, except for the track surface, which will be installed in the spring. The underground architecture facility has required additional foundation work, which will extend the completion date by one month to December, 1997.

As for completed projects, Hall noted that work on roof repair and replacement at Cassell Coliseum has wrapped up, with the exception of the roof coating, scheduled for next spring. The Virginia Tech/University of Virginia Northern Virginia Center is complete, with occupancy scheduled for next month.