Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Administration & Finance

From: Ronnie Smith, Vice Chancellor, Administration and Finance
Subject: Hurricane Katrina Recovery – Update #26
Posted: September 29, 2006

With much of the work on temporary repairs to the major buildings completed, the efforts of the two design teams, the Office of Facility Planning and Control, and the LSUHSC staff have begun to shift towards developing the plans for permanent building repairs. This is a process made more challenging by the many Federal regulations and policies that drive the reimbursement process, and the complexity of the program that may help to mitigate the threat of damage in a similar event. Because these Federal funds represent the vast majority of the funding that we will have available to accomplish the permanent repairs, developing the plans in ways that insure eligibility for reimbursement remains critical.

The architects and engineers for both the downtown campus and for the Dental School campus have developed and proposed multiple versions of concepts for the mitigation of major buildings. This is an iterative process, where FEMA reviews the concepts, asks questions and provides feedback to the design teams regarding feasibility, eligibility for reimbursement, and compliance with the program requirements. The learning curve has been steep for all of us and has consumed significant amounts of time and energy. We learn more with each iteration and we hope to soon see some of the more mature concepts receive the initial conceptual approval which will allow us to take the next step in the process.

The temporary repairs to 1542 Tulane Ave. have progressed to the point where Entergy will re-energize the building so that the electrical repairs can be tested. Recent concerns about a potential natural gas leak in the basement have delayed this step, but the process should move forward in the near future. There have also been a number of repairs that have been identified that are required to prepare the building for temporary occupancy. Pricing and proposals for the timeframes to complete this additional work are just arriving and being reviewed, so the projected timeframe for being able to use the upper floors of the building remains uncertain at this time. The other challenge that faces us is staffing up sufficiently to operate and safely maintain any additional buildings that we may wish to reopen. People in the trades (plumbers, electricians, etc.) and custodian staff are particularly difficult to recruit in the current environment.

The repairs to the Dental School Clinic and Administration buildings and the Power Plant have also progressed steadily. The contractors are working on completing a number of the final tasks, but the majority of the initial contract work has been completed. Somewhat similar to 1542 Tulane Ave., some additional work has been identified that must be completed to allow the upper floors to be reoccupied. We are also facing the problem of insufficient staff to support reopening these large buildings. Creative solutions are being sought to help deal with the staffing challenges, but the competition for people with the necessary skills and experience is very stiff in the metropolitan area.

Here are highlights of work that has been accomplished since our last update was posted two weeks ago.

  • 1542 Tulane Temporary Repair Project:
    • The installation of the fire pump, the jockey pump and the related control panel has been completed.
    • Two booster pumps and an exhaust fan have been delivered and the installation has begun.  
      • The exhaust fan installation has been interrupted because it was delivered with the wrong louvers.  The correct louvers are on order.
      • The electrical cables have been run to the booster pumps.
      • A wiring diagram is needed to allow the booster pumps to be connected to the control box; however they have been temporarily connected without going through the control box to allow them to be tested once building power has been restored.
      • The electrical feed for the exhaust fan has been connected.
    • Two mobile emergency gasoline pumps have been assembled and are ready for use.
    • The contractor has cleaned the debris out of the basement and has closed up the new electrical panels, in anticipation of Entergy energizing the building.
    • Entergy has installed their new current transformers for the electrical metering of the building. 
    • The planned energizing of the building has been postponed due to concerns about a possible natural gas leak. The contractor is preparing a proposal that will allow testing occur. Once this safety issue is resolved, Entergy and the contractor will proceed with energizing the building.
  • Dental School Clinic and Administration Building repairs:
    • The repairs to the Medical Gas System were completed and the system was tested on Friday, 9/22 and no leaks were found in the pipes. However, the connectors at the end of the pipes on the upper floors are believed to be faulty. The contractor will submit a price to repair the faulty connectors to the architects for approval.
    • The Soft Water System has been successfully repaired, started and tested. Only a few minor leaks were discovered which will be repaired once the replacement parts arrive.
    • Concrete block and related materials have been delivered to the job site so that repairs can be made to various walls damaged in the basement.
      • The repairs to the loading dock wall have been completed.
      • The block wall by the chemical storage area and the morgue is approximately 85% complete.
    • The contractors have completed the re-installation of the cabinets and miscellaneous fixtures in Lab 6314B. These items were originally removed to allow the remediation contractor to address the molded walls in this area.
    • The gas lines that feed the incinerator have been purged of water and moisture.  The next step in the repair process will be to ignite the burner to test its operation.
    • The elevator contractor received a shipment of parts for the repair of the damaged elevator door assemblies. These will be utilized when the new elevator doors themselves are received. Other repair work continues:
      • The walls for Elevator #3 in the Clinic Building were installed over the weekend of 9/22.
      • The whisper cable has been installed on Elevator #3 as well. 
      • One set of control panels has been delivered to the site. The contractor is preparing the controls and contacts so that it can be installed in Elevator #4 in the Clinic Building.
    • Work has begun on the repairs to the motor control center. The removal of the chilled water pumps has begun as part of the task.
    • The insulation and labeling of the many new pipes that were installed in the basement spaces continues.
    • The small emergency generator that was initially used to provide power for the temporary repairs has been removed.
  • At the Central Utility Plant, the contractor has been working on the replacement of the VFD and the rebuilt pump.
    • All of the original equipment that was damaged by the flood has been removed.
    • The VFD, the rebuilt motor and the filters have been delivered to the site.
    • The motor has been completely connected and tied into the building systems; however the electrical panels have been left open to allow for inspection.
    • The VFD must be raised 6 inches so that it will meet the existing connection points. New taller channels have been ordered for the VFD to rest on.
      • The VFD has been temporarily raised on wood blocks so that the connections to the filters and electrical power can be prepared.
    • As soon as the new channels are delivered, the installation will be completed and the system will be tested.
  • A contract to provide additional, improved lighting for Student Parking lots on the downtown campus has been bid and awarded. The contractor has been given the notice to proceed early next week.
  • The environmental remediation contractor at the Residence Hall has begun reinstalling the closet doors in the "A", "B", and "C" towers. This work was part of the punch list that remained from the original remediation contract.
  • The air handling unit at the MEB that was replaced as part of the renovations to the large Lecture Halls had broken belts. The belts have been replaced and the unit has been restarted. Additional repairs will be completed in the near future.
  • The replacement table tops and modesty panels for the MEB Lecture Rooms arrived and were installed over the weekend of 9/24.  The remaining raceway covers and pedestal covers were also installed.  The furniture installers will be leveling the table tops as the class schedules permit throughout this week.  The old tops and modesty panels have been removed from the building.

Please continue to follow our progress through our Daily Updates that are also available on the web site.