Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Administration & Finance

From: Ronnie Smith, Vice Chancellor, Administration and Finance
Subject: Hurricane Katrina Recovery – Update #29
Posted: November 10, 2006

The discoveries of additional mold growth in parts of the Dental School Clinic and Administration buildings a few weeks ago continue to get significant amounts of attention from the architects, engineers, the Office of Facility Planning and Control and the LSUHSC staff.  A number of new initiatives have been undertaken that are designed to address various factors that contributed to the continued mold growth.  Sources of outside (humid) air have been closed or sealed.  Portable dehumidifiers have been running at key locations around the buildings.  Inspections and needed repairs of the air handling units are almost complete.  The contractor has begun to start up the temporary chillers as emergency repairs to the motor control center are being completed.  The environmental consultant has prepared a draft specification for mold remediation, and additional inspections of the many air ducts continue.  The entire process of addressing the mold will involve several different bodies of work and related contracts that must be carefully coordinated to insure success.  More specific information is available below.

At 1542 Tulane Ave., work on the approved change orders has begun.  Parts (where required) are on order.  The contractor continues to trace all of the main electrical circuits in the building to insure that power will be available to all the portions of the building that we hope to reoccupy.  The various building systems that have been temporarily repaired are being tested.  Some leaks have been discovered and they are being addressed as they are found.  There is one section of the building that does not yet have power, and the contractor discovered that it was served by a separate switch gear that requires a new feeder from the basement to provide power.  Additional change orders are being prepared to address the new discoveries.  Electrical power will be restored to a key bank of elevators by next week.  These elevators were under a modernization contract prior to the storm, and the contractor will resume work on the contract as soon as stable electrical power is available. 

The project to improve the lighting at the Student Parking lots on the downtown campus has continued over the past two weeks.  Inclement weather has continued to interrupt some of the work, but no serious delays have resulted.  The specific details of progress are shown below.  The bid to make needed repairs to the electrical systems that feed the various parking lot control systems at lots around campus has been opened and an award recommendation has been made.  We anticipate that the contract will be executed and the work begun in the next few weeks. 

The design teams have been working to complete the process of aligning the scopes of work on the FEMA permanent repair PW’s to their assessment of the damage and required repairs.  Good progress continues to be made.  The Dental School design team expects to have all of their comments to FEMA within the next week or so.  FEMA will review the comments, make site inspections as needed, and may ask for additional clarifications.  The downtown campus design team has completed the majority of their work, but is contracting with a testing firm to help identify and validate some suspected damage that is not visible to the eye.  Once the testing is completed, they will be able to finish the remaining alignment work.

The recent weather changes have brought significant amounts of rain to New Orleans.  This has revealed that we have some roof leaks in selected buildings that need to be addressed.  Some may be the result of the failure of temporary repairs that were made immediately after the hurricane.  Others may be from damage that was not immediately visible following the storm.  Both design teams have initiatives underway to examine and test the roofs of the major buildings, so that more robust temporary repairs can be placed under contract.

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

1542 Tulane Ave. Temporary Power Project:

  • The contractor continued the demolition and removal of the abandoned electrical conduits and wiring in the basement, including the old cafeteria space.
  • The contractor also continued the process of tracing out the electrical sub-panels in building.  The lack of “as built” drawings for this building makes this process tedious and time consuming.
  • The environmental remediation contractor has completed cleaning the elevator pits and floor drains in the basement.
  • Additional wiring required to provide power to elevators in the building that are being repaired and modernized under a contract that was in place prior to the storm. 
    • The wiring was ordered and delivered.  The contractor projects that electrical power will be available to this bank of elevators by the end of the day on 11/14.
  • The mechanical/plumbing sub-contractor has been checking the plumbing in the basement for valves and preparing to fill the systems with water. 
    • LSUHSC staff noted that there was a crack in the main water line after the shutoff valve.  This damage has been repaired, as has some broken nipples that were discovered.    
    • Recently, several additional leaks have been found in the domestic water system and one in the chilled water system.  Repairs are being evaluated so that they can be included in a change order to the existing contract.
    • The city water pump has not been energized yet, as the contractor needs to have it piped into the existing building systems.
  • A brine tank (part of the water softening system) remains in the basement and still has flood water in it.

Dental School Temporary Repairs:

  • Mold and interior air quality.
    • The mechanical sub-contractor found three additional places where outside air was entering the building, and has made the needed repairs.
    • The contactor will be assisting the sub-contractor with removing the ceiling tiles and grids (as necessary) to replace the bad dampers that have been discovered during the inspections.   
    • The sheet metal sub-contractor began working on replacing bad dampers in the Dental School Clinic Building today. 
      • They discovered some disparities between the blue print dimensions and the damper sizes.  However, when the dampers are installed they appear to fit properly. 
      • The sub-contractor is checking with the design engineers to determine if the size disparity is a significant issue. 
      • The sub-contractor will attempt to modify one of the dampers that LSUHSC had in stock to correct problems with the construction.  If this is successful, the other dampers will be modified accordingly.  Otherwise, new dampers may have to be ordered. A final determination is pending.
    • The mechanical sub-contractor is inspecting and replacing the filters and belts on the air handling units throughout the Clinic and Administration Buildings.  The progress continues on the inspection; approximately 6 units remain to be inspected. 
    • The contractor also had Ditech Dehumidification Technologies evaluate the Dental School HVAC system to see how much they can assist with drying out the buildings.  A proposal has been prepared and is under evaluation.
      • The design team is working closely with the environmental consultant as plans are developed for the mold remediation work.  A number of variables must be taken into account and several individual repair projects staged and coordinated properly to insure that the process is successful.
    • The mechanical sub-contractor at the Dental School attempted to power up the air handling units on the 1st floor and found that they were not operating.  The units are being examined to determine what repairs may be needed.
  • During the inspection of thermostats in the Dental School Clinic Building, the contractor discovered a water leak on the 8th floor.   Rooms 8318 and 8403 were the only rooms that were affected and the leak has been repaired.
  • The pump motors were delivered to the second floor of the Dental School Power Plant.  The contractor began the installation of the pump motors, as well as their inspection of the motor control center. 
  • The incinerator contractor returned to the Dental School campus to continue his repair work, now that the natural gas regulator has been replaced.  He started the incinerator but was only successful in getting the primary unit fired up. Additional repairs needs are being identified and a proposal for the next phase of repairs is being prepared.
    • Some blower motors have seized and will require replacement, as will the motor controller and panel which were damaged in the post-Katrina flooding.
  • LSUHSC Health and Safety removed all of the fire extinguishers from the Dental School Clinic and Administration buildings so that they can be inspected and refilled as necessary. 
  • A sub-contractor was working to align the four motors that power the air handling units on the second floor of the Clinic Building and was successful with three of the units.  The fourth motor has a bad foundation (cracked concrete), and the contractor will have to make that repair. 
  • The electrical contractor working at the Dental School has been installing the doors and hardware for the switch gear room in the basement.
  • Cingular visited the Dental School to determine what will be required to remove their cellular equipment from the roof of the Dental School, since AT&T has decided not to restore the site. 
    • NOTE: This does not impact on telephone service at the Dental School.  It was a commercial cellular tower that will not be reinstalled.
  • During a walk through of the Dental School, a leak was discovered in the sprinkler system on the 2nd floor. 
    • The mechanical sub-contractor removed a bad gauge which was the source of the leak, but they were not licensed to complete the repair. 
    • Another sub-contractor was contacted to replace the gauge and the repairs are complete.
  • The sub-contractor started the two temporary chillers and discovered a leak at the cooling tower.  There is a 1 inch fitting that has rusted through on the chemical feed for the condenser water.  The technician shut the system down to keep from contaminating the condenser.  Repairs will be made shortly.
  • The contractor started the two chilled water supply pumps and one condenser water pump in the Dental School basement. 
    • The chilled water supply pumps #1 and #2 made an unusual amount of noise during the hour long run.
    • Chilled water supply pump motor #2 tripped on overloads.
    • The engineer traced the supply line to see if there were any valves that were in the closed position that could cause the pump to overload. 
    • The #1 condenser pump motor had a serious vibration.  The contractor decoupled the pump and started the motor without a load, and the unit did not vibrate.  The belief is that the pump is either not in alignment or the water flow is not balanced.
    • Additional pump alignment has been completed. 
      • There are still problems with the #3 condenser pump and there is concern that it may cause some damage to the motor on start up. 
      • One of the Chilled Water Loop pumps is not turning as freely as it should.  That will make the motor draw more amps than needed.  This has been reported to the design engineer.
  • Dust from the dehumidifier in the east breezeway of the Clinic Building 2nd floor was picked up by a smoke detector.
    • The fire doors from the 4th floor to the basement did not operate, and would normally close during the alarm period to keep smoke from entering the hallways and corridors.  This failure will be investigated and repaired.
  • The mechanical sub-contractor for the Dental School project replaced the fitting on the chemical feed pipe for the condenser water supply.
  • The contractor located a leak that is affecting the emergency chiller.  They are preparing a quotation for the repair work.   
  • The electrical contractor is working to restore the power to the loading dock flood gate.
  • The elevator contractor has informed us that some of the replacement elevator doors have been received. 

Student Parking Lot Lighting Project:

  • Student Parking Lot #2. 
    • The contractor has completed the trenching and installation of conduit for the electrical wiring required for the new lights.  He is in the process of pulling electrical wire through the conduit to the light pole locations.
    • The new electrical panel has been installed and wiring is being pulled to the panel.
    • The steel reinforcement "cages" for the concrete light pole bases are assembled and ready for installation.
    • The holes around the pilings for the concrete light pole bases are being dug out to the correct diameter and depth.
    • The outer concrete forms must be installed before the concrete can be poured. 
  • Student Parking Lot #3.
    • The electrical wire has been pulled to all of the new light pole locations.
    • The steel reinforcement "cages" for the concrete light pole bases are assembled and ready for installation.
    • The holes around the pilings for the concrete light pole bases have been dug out to the correct diameter and depth.
    • The outer concrete forms have been installed for the light pole bases.
    • Concrete is expected to be poured early in the week of 11/13/06.