Construction Update 07/12/2021

Earliest Move-in Is Late August

Two weeks ago we reported that move-in to the new tower had been postponed because elevators in the new tower had failed their pressurization test. We now have a tentative date of 20 August for substantial completion of the building. This means that we could begin moving in on 23 August, provided that as of 20 August the elevators have passed the pressurization test. The Madison Fire Department will not permit occupancy of the building until the elevator pressurization system functions properly.

Elevator pressurization is a life-safety issue. In the event of fire, smoke and fumes are prevented from entering the elevator shafts by increased air pressure in the shafts. As a result of a design flaw, that pressure was insufficient; thus, the pressurization test failed. Larger fans have been ordered, which should solve the problem, but there is concern that the lower two floors (basement and sub-basement, where the big lecture rooms are) might still have insufficient pressure. (The fans are on the ninth floor and elevator-shaft pressure is greatest at the top. In the event of a fire, the elevator cars stop at the first floor, impeding air flow to floors below and making it more difficult to pressurize the elevator shafts in the basement and sub-basement. Thus there is a minor possibility of failing the test even with the larger fans.)

It is highly probable that the elevator pressurization test will be successful on 20 August, but should it fail our fall classes will be seriously affected because we will have neither lecture rooms nor laboratories in which to teach. Even if the elevator test is successful, move-in will be very hectic because the move-in date will coincide with the start of TA training; moving in, unpacking, and getting ready for fall classes will have to be squeezed into a very short time. The movers will try to get everything moved in one week, but given the time required for unpacking equipment and setting up labs, the first few weeks of lab are likely to be virtual.

We will keep you posted as more information becomes available.

Tina Wang’s New Lab is Complete

An important item on the Facilities Committee’s agenda for some time has been the renovation of new laboratories for Assistant Professor Tina Wang. The renovation provides specialized facilities such as a warm room to support Professor Wang’s research. The construction team/architect/university/department conducted the final review/inspection of these renovated laboratories last week. As with any project, there are still a few loose ends to clear up, but happily, Professor Wang and her students are now in brand new facilities.

Exhaust Interruptions

The Mathews and Daniels wings are expected to be completely closed 27, 28, and 29 July. As you probably recall, there were problems with the new exhaust system in the Mathews wing. In order to complete the repair of those problems, the exhaust fans in the new tower that service both Mathews and Daniels wings must be shut down for approximately three days. To minimize disruption, the shutdown has been tentatively scheduled to coincide with the last Daniels exhaust shutdown (shutdown #4—see below). As before, windows in labs in the Mathews wing will need to be opened by UW Physical Plant staff. Other utilities – electrical service, process cooling water, water, nitrogen, etc. – will not be affected.  Neither the dates nor the duration of the shutdown are confirmed at this time.  Additional information will be provided as it becomes available.

The series of rolling three-day shutdowns of fume hoods in the Daniels wing that is the final step in the heart-lung transplant to improve ventilation in the Mathews and Daniels wings is nearly complete. Here are the shutdowns scheduled for the next three weeks. If necessary, email notices may supersede this schedule.

Shutdown #9 – Tue July 13 – Thu July 15 This shutdown affects these rooms:
4309A, 4313, 4317, 4319, 4319A, 4323, 4323A, 4323B, 5303,5307, 5307A, 5322, 5322A, 3301, 3301A, 3305, 3309, 3309A, 3309B, 3317, 3321, 3325, 3326.

Shutdown #3 – Tue July 20 – Thu July 22 This shutdown affects these rooms:
5329 – North Half, 6337, 7329, 8305L, 8305I, 8325, 8327, 8329, 5373-West Half, 5375 – West Half, 6361 -, SW Corner, 6369 – West 2/3, 7369 – North 2/3, 8369, 8369B, 5361 – North 2/3, 6358, 6361 – all but SW corner, 7361 – South Half, 7363.

Shutdown #4 – Tue July 27 – Thu July 29 This shutdown affects these rooms:
S340, S344, S346, S346B, S348, S350, S352, S354, 9341, 3363, 3363A, 3365, 3367, 4359 – South  2/3, 4367, 4370.

Shutdowns occur each week, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Because of the way the fume hoods are connected to the existing exhaust system, the schedule cannot align nicely with research groups or with floors in the building, so it is essential that everyone consult the schedule to find out when your lab must shut down. Labs need to be ready by 6:00 am on Tuesday morning for the fume hood shutdown in each area.

It is extremely important that you adhere to the shutdown schedule and shutdown protocol because construction workers will be exposed to open exhaust ducts and your fume hood cannot protect you or your lab mates during the period that it is disconnected from the exhaust fans.

Please follow these directions for preparing your lab:

  1. Ensure that there are no active experiments.
  2. Close and cap all chemical containers.
  3. It is not necessary to turn off or cover equipment.
  4. Construction workers will not need to work in your laboratory; all construction work will occur on the floor 9 mezzanine.
  5. Staff from UW Safety Department and from the chemistry facilities committee will spot-check preparations and compliance.

It will not be necessary to vacate the Daniels building during these shutdowns. The supply of fresh, tempered air will not be affected, and most of the building’s exhaust systems will be operating at any given time. The labs where the fume hoods are shut down should not be used, but research may continue in labs where fume hoods are not shut down. Student and faculty offices are essentially unaffected (regardless of specific detail shown on the maps) and may continue to be used.

In the Daniels wing, only exhaust from the designated labs will be shut down; other utilities (electrical service, process cooling water, nitrogen) will operate normally. In the Mathews wing, if your fume hood goes into alarm, please do two things immediately:

  1. Stop all experimentation in your fume hood; close and cap all containers.
  2. Notify Jeff Nielsen of the room number and fume hood location where the problem exists.

The Shain wing will not be affected by these exhaust interruptions.

Surplus Equipment and Glassware

When we move into our new facilities, the general chemistry program will change the way it handles laboratory equipment for students. This change, together with inventories of storerooms in preparation for moving, has identified a large quantity of surplus equipment and glassware.

We are making available to a wider constituency surplus equipment and glassware that is not suitable for redistribution through the UW-Madison’s SWAP program. To avoid just trashing this surplus, the facilities committee has notified public high schools and other UW-System campuses that surplus equipment and glassware are available. During the next several weeks, you may see people in the building who are unfamiliar with our facility and are moving surplus equipment to their vehicles at the loading dock. If you know teachers in Wisconsin public institutions who might be able to use some of the surplus equipment, please contact John Moore, who will see that they are notified about the surplus distribution program and how to take advantage of it. After we move into the new tower—from early October until the end of the year, we hope—surplus equipment and glassware will again be available for pick-up, so there is plenty of time for those who might use it to come and get it.

This information is up to date as of Monday morning. Email bulletins will be provided as needed.

John Moore and Bob McMahon