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Losing steam: Decades-old boilers at UND need about $20 million in replacements, repairs

Mark Johnson compared the boilers inside UND's steam plant to teapots that create steam used to heat buildings. But UND's seven boilers are 42 years old, on average. The newest two were installed more than two decades ago and the oldest is a whop...

2399482+031615.N.GFH_.STEAMPLANT 001.JPG
Eddie Skinner opens the hatch to check on the firing of the coal on one of the boilers. Jesse Trelstad/ Grand Forks Herald

Mark Johnson compared the boilers inside UND's steam plant to teapots that create steam used to heat buildings. But UND's seven boilers are 42 years old, on average. The newest two were installed more than two decades ago and the oldest is a whopping 64-years-old. "Those teapots are way beyond their useful life," said Johnson, UND's facilities director of operations and maintenance. In 2014, a report commissioned by the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education found 35 of the 56 boilers at the state's 11 universities were "beyond useful life" with less than three or four years left to function. Further, deferred maintenance needs for the heating plants at North Dakota University System campuses was projected at $40 million through 2020.
 The report, compiled by the firm Paulien and Associates Inc., was first presented to a SBHE committee, where members expressed concern it didn't encompass all buildings, according to meeting minutes. The report was presented to the full SBHE board in May 2014 and at the time it was found UND would need major repairs within two years. The repairs ultimately weren't funded, but Johnson said he isn't pointing fingers. Instead, Johnson said he realizes boiler replacement and repairs are weighed against the needs of an entire campus and even larger university system. "It wasn't that we didn't bring it up but like with anything else, they have to justify it with other needs," he said. Dave Chakraborty, UND's vice president for facilities management, said he's concerned if a boiler fails during the coldest months of winter, students could have to go home temporarily. "It's not a question any more of how long these could run," he said. "When a car has run for 200,000 miles it's not a question of if it will break, it's when it will break, no matter how well you've maintained it." Nuts and bolts The inside of UND's steam plant is warm. Behind an entry way and conference room lies looming machinery, seemingly endless feet of pipe and the seven massive boilers that provide campus with not only heat, but humidification, heat for dining steam tables and instrument sterilization. According to data from the Office of Institutional Research, the steam plant was built 107 years ago and has seen eight additions or renovations since, the most recent of which occurred in 1993. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2399487","attributes":{"alt":"Craig Machart, Steam Plant Manager, stands in front of one of the older boilers on UND's campus.","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] Different boilers with varying capacities burn either coal, natural gas or oil to generate the steam sent throughout campus. Johnson said it's important to have different fuel sources because of times like a day in January 2014 when oil shipments were slow and a natural gas pipeline explosion in Canada stopped delivery of that fuel source as well. "We've had some close calls," he said. The building's second oldest boiler burns coal and was installed in 1952, it, along with another coal-burning boiler installed in 1966, was assembled piece by piece from the ceiling down and hangs suspended so when it heats up, it expands vertically downward. Repairing that boiler, or several of the others in the steam plant, requires a little imagination as Steam Plant Manager Craig Machart said it's impossible to buy parts for the dated machines. In some cases, employees have learned how to make the parts themselves or special-order them. "When you add it all up and look at total cost of operations there's no question in our mind we're spending more money in the way we're running this plant because of what we have to do," Chakraborty said. Because it's crucial to have more boilers than necessary, Chakraborty said his staff is analyzing plant redundancy. On extremely cold days far below zero, Johnson said the plant sometimes has five boilers running at one time. "You don't want have only three boilers when you need all three boilers because inevitably something will go down and in an institution this size you can't afford that," Johnson said. If boilers failed on a cold enough day, Johnson said that would mean sending students home. Chakraborty added that while temporary boilers can be brought in, they're costly and take days to hook up. "I've got kids here and I don't want them to come home," Johnson joked, laughing. "I want to keep this working so they stay where they're supposed to be." Needs Chakraborty said he wants to repair the two 24-year old boilers in the steam plant, which would cost about $1 million. The life spans of those boilers are about 30 years each and repairs could extend that, Johnson said. On top of that, they hope to replace one of the oldest boilers with two smaller, newer ones, bringing the total cost of repair and replacement to about $20 million. "We're not going to replace seven boilers," Chakraborty said. Repairs to the piping in the distribution center also is under consideration, including changing the current structure where steam exits the plant through one main pipe - creating a single point of failure and leaving the campus vulnerable, Johnson said. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2399490","attributes":{"alt":"Mark Johnson, Director of Operations and Maintenance points out the coal chutes in the upper half of the building.","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] Johnson said facilities managers at UND have pushed for updated boilers and equipment but that it's an easy need to shuffle to the bottom of a pile. "It's like in your house; would you rather put new carpet or drapes in or a new furnace?" he said. "It's like, 'Do you think we can get just one more year out of it? Because I really like those curtains.'" It was at the May 2014 SBHE meeting where it came to light Valley City State University desperately needed boiler repairs and eventually saw $14 million in funding for that project through the 2015 higher education funding bill. According to the North Dakota State University website a new boiler was installed in 2015 to replace one that was 43 years old. But Chakraborty said he realizes it's not easy to get donor dollars or raise awareness for boilers, something most people don't even realize exist on UND's campus. "No question, classroom buildings are more exciting," he said. "Nobody is going to line up here to cut a ribbon on a steam plant boiler but people will line up for a classroom building. That's the reality and we recognize that." What now With UND facing $9.5 million in cuts to the ongoing 2015-17 budget while its School of Medicine and Health Sciences also must cut $3.1 million. The 2014 Paulien study looked at all NDUS heating plants but only a section of all campus buildings. It found NDUS had $808 million in deferred maintenance needs for the next six years. The board then asked for a more comprehensive study. Chakraborty's recent study of UND's entire campus, referenced at a master planning forum in December, found a total deferred maintenance need of about $450 million over the next decade. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2399492","attributes":{"alt":"UND boilers, graphic courtesy of UND.","class":"media-image","height":"202","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"281"}}]] "When you're confronted with that large number your eyes glaze over," he said. "It's like, you can never solve this problem, so let's go do something else." Chakraborty talked about the old boilers at the winter master planning forum while UND Interim President Ed Schafer, during a budget meeting on campus earlier this month, said finding funds to address the problem was a priority. The university also has an agreement with Altru Health System that Johnson said has existed for decades and is renewed annually. The university sells Altru steam at a rate based on the work and fuel it takes to produce it. It's unclear how UND's overall boiler needs will be fixed but those involved in UND facilities said it's a priority. "Like anything else, when you've got 100 people asking for needs it comes down to the more awareness, the better," Johnson said.Mark Johnson compared the boilers inside UND's steam plant to teapots that create steam used to heat buildings. But UND's seven boilers are 42 years old, on average. The newest two were installed more than two decades ago and the oldest is a whopping 64-years-old. "Those teapots are way beyond their useful life," said Johnson, UND's facilities director of operations and maintenance. In 2014, a report commissioned by the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education found 35 of the 56 boilers at the state's 11 universities were "beyond useful life" with less than three or four years left to function. Further, deferred maintenance needs for the heating plants at North Dakota University System campuses was projected at $40 million through 2020. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2399484","attributes":{"alt":"Fire within the furnace seen through a welding helmet. Jesse Trelstad/ Grand Forks Herald","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] The report, compiled by the firm Paulien and Associates Inc., was first presented to a SBHE committee, where members expressed concern it didn't encompass all buildings, according to meeting minutes. The report was presented to the full SBHE board in May 2014 and at the time it was found UND would need major repairs within two years. The repairs ultimately weren't funded, but Johnson said he isn't pointing fingers. Instead, Johnson said he realizes boiler replacement and repairs are weighed against the needs of an entire campus and even larger university system. "It wasn't that we didn't bring it up but like with anything else, they have to justify it with other needs," he said. Dave Chakraborty, UND's vice president for facilities management, said he's concerned if a boiler fails during the coldest months of winter, students could have to go home temporarily. "It's not a question any more of how long these could run," he said. "When a car has run for 200,000 miles it's not a question of if it will break, it's when it will break, no matter how well you've maintained it." Nuts and bolts The inside of UND's steam plant is warm. Behind an entry way and conference room lies looming machinery, seemingly endless feet of pipe and the seven massive boilers that provide campus with not only heat, but humidification, heat for dining steam tables and instrument sterilization. According to data from the Office of Institutional Research, the steam plant was built 107 years ago and has seen eight additions or renovations since, the most recent of which occurred in 1993.
 Different boilers with varying capacities burn either coal, natural gas or oil to generate the steam sent throughout campus. Johnson said it's important to have different fuel sources because of times like a day in January 2014 when oil shipments were slow and a natural gas pipeline explosion in Canada stopped delivery of that fuel source as well. "We've had some close calls," he said. The building's second oldest boiler burns coal and was installed in 1952, it, along with another coal-burning boiler installed in 1966, was assembled piece by piece from the ceiling down and hangs suspended so when it heats up, it expands vertically downward. Repairing that boiler, or several of the others in the steam plant, requires a little imagination as Steam Plant Manager Craig Machart said it's impossible to buy parts for the dated machines. In some cases, employees have learned how to make the parts themselves or special-order them. "When you add it all up and look at total cost of operations there's no question in our mind we're spending more money in the way we're running this plant because of what we have to do," Chakraborty said. Because it's crucial to have more boilers than necessary, Chakraborty said his staff is analyzing plant redundancy. On extremely cold days far below zero, Johnson said the plant sometimes has five boilers running at one time. "You don't want have only three boilers when you need all three boilers because inevitably something will go down and in an institution this size you can't afford that," Johnson said. If boilers failed on a cold enough day, Johnson said that would mean sending students home. Chakraborty added that while temporary boilers can be brought in, they're costly and take days to hook up. "I've got kids here and I don't want them to come home," Johnson joked, laughing. "I want to keep this working so they stay where they're supposed to be." Needs Chakraborty said he wants to repair the two 24-year old boilers in the steam plant, which would cost about $1 million. The life spans of those boilers are about 30 years each and repairs could extend that, Johnson said. On top of that, they hope to replace one of the oldest boilers with two smaller, newer ones, bringing the total cost of repair and replacement to about $20 million. "We're not going to replace seven boilers," Chakraborty said. Repairs to the piping in the distribution center also is under consideration, including changing the current structure where steam exits the plant through one main pipe - creating a single point of failure and leaving the campus vulnerable, Johnson said. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2399490","attributes":{"alt":"Mark Johnson, Director of Operations and Maintenance points out the coal chutes in the upper half of the building.","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] Johnson said facilities managers at UND have pushed for updated boilers and equipment but that it's an easy need to shuffle to the bottom of a pile. "It's like in your house; would you rather put new carpet or drapes in or a new furnace?" he said. "It's like, 'Do you think we can get just one more year out of it? Because I really like those curtains.'" It was at the May 2014 SBHE meeting where it came to light Valley City State University desperately needed boiler repairs and eventually saw $14 million in funding for that project through the 2015 higher education funding bill. According to the North Dakota State University website a new boiler was installed in 2015 to replace one that was 43 years old. But Chakraborty said he realizes it's not easy to get donor dollars or raise awareness for boilers, something most people don't even realize exist on UND's campus. "No question, classroom buildings are more exciting," he said. "Nobody is going to line up here to cut a ribbon on a steam plant boiler but people will line up for a classroom building. That's the reality and we recognize that." What now With UND facing $9.5 million in cuts to the ongoing 2015-17 budget while its School of Medicine and Health Sciences also must cut $3.1 million. The 2014 Paulien study looked at all NDUS heating plants but only a section of all campus buildings. It found NDUS had $808 million in deferred maintenance needs for the next six years. The board then asked for a more comprehensive study. Chakraborty's recent study of UND's entire campus, referenced at a master planning forum in December, found a total deferred maintenance need of about $450 million over the next decade. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2399492","attributes":{"alt":"UND boilers, graphic courtesy of UND.","class":"media-image","height":"202","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"281"}}]] "When you're confronted with that large number your eyes glaze over," he said. "It's like, you can never solve this problem, so let's go do something else." Chakraborty talked about the old boilers at the winter master planning forum while UND Interim President Ed Schafer, during a budget meeting on campus earlier this month, said finding funds to address the problem was a priority. The university also has an agreement with Altru Health System that Johnson said has existed for decades and is renewed annually. The university sells Altru steam at a rate based on the work and fuel it takes to produce it. It's unclear how UND's overall boiler needs will be fixed but those involved in UND facilities said it's a priority. "Like anything else, when you've got 100 people asking for needs it comes down to the more awareness, the better," Johnson said.Mark Johnson compared the boilers inside UND's steam plant to teapots that create steam used to heat buildings. But UND's seven boilers are 42 years old, on average. The newest two were installed more than two decades ago and the oldest is a whopping 64-years-old. "Those teapots are way beyond their useful life," said Johnson, UND's facilities director of operations and maintenance. In 2014, a report commissioned by the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education found 35 of the 56 boilers at the state's 11 universities were "beyond useful life" with less than three or four years left to function. Further, deferred maintenance needs for the heating plants at North Dakota University System campuses was projected at $40 million through 2020. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2399484","attributes":{"alt":"Fire within the furnace seen through a welding helmet. Jesse Trelstad/ Grand Forks Herald","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] The report, compiled by the firm Paulien and Associates Inc., was first presented to a SBHE committee, where members expressed concern it didn't encompass all buildings, according to meeting minutes. The report was presented to the full SBHE board in May 2014 and at the time it was found UND would need major repairs within two years. The repairs ultimately weren't funded, but Johnson said he isn't pointing fingers. Instead, Johnson said he realizes boiler replacement and repairs are weighed against the needs of an entire campus and even larger university system. "It wasn't that we didn't bring it up but like with anything else, they have to justify it with other needs," he said. Dave Chakraborty, UND's vice president for facilities management, said he's concerned if a boiler fails during the coldest months of winter, students could have to go home temporarily. "It's not a question any more of how long these could run," he said. "When a car has run for 200,000 miles it's not a question of if it will break, it's when it will break, no matter how well you've maintained it." Nuts and bolts The inside of UND's steam plant is warm. Behind an entry way and conference room lies looming machinery, seemingly endless feet of pipe and the seven massive boilers that provide campus with not only heat, but humidification, heat for dining steam tables and instrument sterilization. According to data from the Office of Institutional Research, the steam plant was built 107 years ago and has seen eight additions or renovations since, the most recent of which occurred in 1993. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2399487","attributes":{"alt":"Craig Machart, Steam Plant Manager, stands in front of one of the older boilers on UND's campus.","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] Different boilers with varying capacities burn either coal, natural gas or oil to generate the steam sent throughout campus. Johnson said it's important to have different fuel sources because of times like a day in January 2014 when oil shipments were slow and a natural gas pipeline explosion in Canada stopped delivery of that fuel source as well. "We've had some close calls," he said. The building's second oldest boiler burns coal and was installed in 1952, it, along with another coal-burning boiler installed in 1966, was assembled piece by piece from the ceiling down and hangs suspended so when it heats up, it expands vertically downward. Repairing that boiler, or several of the others in the steam plant, requires a little imagination as Steam Plant Manager Craig Machart said it's impossible to buy parts for the dated machines. In some cases, employees have learned how to make the parts themselves or special-order them. "When you add it all up and look at total cost of operations there's no question in our mind we're spending more money in the way we're running this plant because of what we have to do," Chakraborty said. Because it's crucial to have more boilers than necessary, Chakraborty said his staff is analyzing plant redundancy. On extremely cold days far below zero, Johnson said the plant sometimes has five boilers running at one time. "You don't want have only three boilers when you need all three boilers because inevitably something will go down and in an institution this size you can't afford that," Johnson said. If boilers failed on a cold enough day, Johnson said that would mean sending students home. Chakraborty added that while temporary boilers can be brought in, they're costly and take days to hook up. "I've got kids here and I don't want them to come home," Johnson joked, laughing. "I want to keep this working so they stay where they're supposed to be." Needs Chakraborty said he wants to repair the two 24-year old boilers in the steam plant, which would cost about $1 million. The life spans of those boilers are about 30 years each and repairs could extend that, Johnson said. On top of that, they hope to replace one of the oldest boilers with two smaller, newer ones, bringing the total cost of repair and replacement to about $20 million. "We're not going to replace seven boilers," Chakraborty said. Repairs to the piping in the distribution center also is under consideration, including changing the current structure where steam exits the plant through one main pipe - creating a single point of failure and leaving the campus vulnerable, Johnson said.
 Johnson said facilities managers at UND have pushed for updated boilers and equipment but that it's an easy need to shuffle to the bottom of a pile. "It's like in your house; would you rather put new carpet or drapes in or a new furnace?" he said. "It's like, 'Do you think we can get just one more year out of it? Because I really like those curtains.'" It was at the May 2014 SBHE meeting where it came to light Valley City State University desperately needed boiler repairs and eventually saw $14 million in funding for that project through the 2015 higher education funding bill. According to the North Dakota State University website a new boiler was installed in 2015 to replace one that was 43 years old. But Chakraborty said he realizes it's not easy to get donor dollars or raise awareness for boilers, something most people don't even realize exist on UND's campus. "No question, classroom buildings are more exciting," he said. "Nobody is going to line up here to cut a ribbon on a steam plant boiler but people will line up for a classroom building. That's the reality and we recognize that." What now With UND facing $9.5 million in cuts to the ongoing 2015-17 budget while its School of Medicine and Health Sciences also must cut $3.1 million. The 2014 Paulien study looked at all NDUS heating plants but only a section of all campus buildings. It found NDUS had $808 million in deferred maintenance needs for the next six years. The board then asked for a more comprehensive study. Chakraborty's recent study of UND's entire campus, referenced at a master planning forum in December, found a total deferred maintenance need of about $450 million over the next decade. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2399492","attributes":{"alt":"UND boilers, graphic courtesy of UND.","class":"media-image","height":"202","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"281"}}]] "When you're confronted with that large number your eyes glaze over," he said. "It's like, you can never solve this problem, so let's go do something else." Chakraborty talked about the old boilers at the winter master planning forum while UND Interim President Ed Schafer, during a budget meeting on campus earlier this month, said finding funds to address the problem was a priority. The university also has an agreement with Altru Health System that Johnson said has existed for decades and is renewed annually. The university sells Altru steam at a rate based on the work and fuel it takes to produce it. It's unclear how UND's overall boiler needs will be fixed but those involved in UND facilities said it's a priority. "Like anything else, when you've got 100 people asking for needs it comes down to the more awareness, the better," Johnson said.Mark Johnson compared the boilers inside UND's steam plant to teapots that create steam used to heat buildings. But UND's seven boilers are 42 years old, on average. The newest two were installed more than two decades ago and the oldest is a whopping 64-years-old. "Those teapots are way beyond their useful life," said Johnson, UND's facilities director of operations and maintenance. In 2014, a report commissioned by the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education found 35 of the 56 boilers at the state's 11 universities were "beyond useful life" with less than three or four years left to function. Further, deferred maintenance needs for the heating plants at North Dakota University System campuses was projected at $40 million through 2020. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2399484","attributes":{"alt":"Fire within the furnace seen through a welding helmet. Jesse Trelstad/ Grand Forks Herald","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] The report, compiled by the firm Paulien and Associates Inc., was first presented to a SBHE committee, where members expressed concern it didn't encompass all buildings, according to meeting minutes. The report was presented to the full SBHE board in May 2014 and at the time it was found UND would need major repairs within two years. The repairs ultimately weren't funded, but Johnson said he isn't pointing fingers. Instead, Johnson said he realizes boiler replacement and repairs are weighed against the needs of an entire campus and even larger university system. "It wasn't that we didn't bring it up but like with anything else, they have to justify it with other needs," he said. Dave Chakraborty, UND's vice president for facilities management, said he's concerned if a boiler fails during the coldest months of winter, students could have to go home temporarily. "It's not a question any more of how long these could run," he said. "When a car has run for 200,000 miles it's not a question of if it will break, it's when it will break, no matter how well you've maintained it." Nuts and bolts The inside of UND's steam plant is warm. Behind an entry way and conference room lies looming machinery, seemingly endless feet of pipe and the seven massive boilers that provide campus with not only heat, but humidification, heat for dining steam tables and instrument sterilization. According to data from the Office of Institutional Research, the steam plant was built 107 years ago and has seen eight additions or renovations since, the most recent of which occurred in 1993. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2399487","attributes":{"alt":"Craig Machart, Steam Plant Manager, stands in front of one of the older boilers on UND's campus.","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] Different boilers with varying capacities burn either coal, natural gas or oil to generate the steam sent throughout campus. Johnson said it's important to have different fuel sources because of times like a day in January 2014 when oil shipments were slow and a natural gas pipeline explosion in Canada stopped delivery of that fuel source as well. "We've had some close calls," he said. The building's second oldest boiler burns coal and was installed in 1952, it, along with another coal-burning boiler installed in 1966, was assembled piece by piece from the ceiling down and hangs suspended so when it heats up, it expands vertically downward. Repairing that boiler, or several of the others in the steam plant, requires a little imagination as Steam Plant Manager Craig Machart said it's impossible to buy parts for the dated machines. In some cases, employees have learned how to make the parts themselves or special-order them. "When you add it all up and look at total cost of operations there's no question in our mind we're spending more money in the way we're running this plant because of what we have to do," Chakraborty said. Because it's crucial to have more boilers than necessary, Chakraborty said his staff is analyzing plant redundancy. On extremely cold days far below zero, Johnson said the plant sometimes has five boilers running at one time. "You don't want have only three boilers when you need all three boilers because inevitably something will go down and in an institution this size you can't afford that," Johnson said. If boilers failed on a cold enough day, Johnson said that would mean sending students home. Chakraborty added that while temporary boilers can be brought in, they're costly and take days to hook up. "I've got kids here and I don't want them to come home," Johnson joked, laughing. "I want to keep this working so they stay where they're supposed to be." Needs Chakraborty said he wants to repair the two 24-year old boilers in the steam plant, which would cost about $1 million. The life spans of those boilers are about 30 years each and repairs could extend that, Johnson said. On top of that, they hope to replace one of the oldest boilers with two smaller, newer ones, bringing the total cost of repair and replacement to about $20 million. "We're not going to replace seven boilers," Chakraborty said. Repairs to the piping in the distribution center also is under consideration, including changing the current structure where steam exits the plant through one main pipe - creating a single point of failure and leaving the campus vulnerable, Johnson said. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2399490","attributes":{"alt":"Mark Johnson, Director of Operations and Maintenance points out the coal chutes in the upper half of the building.","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] Johnson said facilities managers at UND have pushed for updated boilers and equipment but that it's an easy need to shuffle to the bottom of a pile. "It's like in your house; would you rather put new carpet or drapes in or a new furnace?" he said. "It's like, 'Do you think we can get just one more year out of it? Because I really like those curtains.'" It was at the May 2014 SBHE meeting where it came to light Valley City State University desperately needed boiler repairs and eventually saw $14 million in funding for that project through the 2015 higher education funding bill. According to the North Dakota State University website a new boiler was installed in 2015 to replace one that was 43 years old. But Chakraborty said he realizes it's not easy to get donor dollars or raise awareness for boilers, something most people don't even realize exist on UND's campus. "No question, classroom buildings are more exciting," he said. "Nobody is going to line up here to cut a ribbon on a steam plant boiler but people will line up for a classroom building. That's the reality and we recognize that." What now With UND facing $9.5 million in cuts to the ongoing 2015-17 budget while its School of Medicine and Health Sciences also must cut $3.1 million. The 2014 Paulien study looked at all NDUS heating plants but only a section of all campus buildings. It found NDUS had $808 million in deferred maintenance needs for the next six years. The board then asked for a more comprehensive study. Chakraborty's recent study of UND's entire campus, referenced at a master planning forum in December, found a total deferred maintenance need of about $450 million over the next decade.
 "When you're confronted with that large number your eyes glaze over," he said. "It's like, you can never solve this problem, so let's go do something else." Chakraborty talked about the old boilers at the winter master planning forum while UND Interim President Ed Schafer, during a budget meeting on campus earlier this month, said finding funds to address the problem was a priority. The university also has an agreement with Altru Health System that Johnson said has existed for decades and is renewed annually. The university sells Altru steam at a rate based on the work and fuel it takes to produce it. It's unclear how UND's overall boiler needs will be fixed but those involved in UND facilities said it's a priority. "Like anything else, when you've got 100 people asking for needs it comes down to the more awareness, the better," Johnson said.Mark Johnson compared the boilers inside UND's steam plant to teapots that create steam used to heat buildings.But UND's seven boilers are 42 years old, on average. The newest two were installed more than two decades ago and the oldest is a whopping 64-years-old."Those teapots are way beyond their useful life," said Johnson, UND's facilities director of operations and maintenance.In 2014, a report commissioned by the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education found 35 of the 56 boilers at the state's 11 universities were "beyond useful life" with less than three or four years left to function. Further, deferred maintenance needs for the heating plants at North Dakota University System campuses was projected at $40 million through 2020.
 The report, compiled by the firm Paulien and Associates Inc., was first presented to a SBHE committee, where members expressed concern it didn't encompass all buildings, according to meeting minutes.The report was presented to the full SBHE board in May 2014 and at the time it was found UND would need major repairs within two years.The repairs ultimately weren't funded, but Johnson said he isn't pointing fingers. Instead, Johnson said he realizes boiler replacement and repairs are weighed against the needs of an entire campus and even larger university system."It wasn't that we didn't bring it up but like with anything else, they have to justify it with other needs," he said.Dave Chakraborty, UND's vice president for facilities management, said he's concerned if a boiler fails during the coldest months of winter, students could have to go home temporarily. "It's not a question any more of how long these could run," he said. "When a car has run for 200,000 miles it's not a question of if it will break, it's when it will break, no matter how well you've maintained it."Nuts and boltsThe inside of UND's steam plant is warm. Behind an entry way and conference room lies looming machinery, seemingly endless feet of pipe and the seven massive boilers that provide campus with not only heat, but humidification, heat for dining steam tables and instrument sterilization.According to data from the Office of Institutional Research, the steam plant was built 107 years ago and has seen eight additions or renovations since, the most recent of which occurred in 1993.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2399487","attributes":{"alt":"Craig Machart, Steam Plant Manager, stands in front of one of the older boilers on UND's campus.","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] Different boilers with varying capacities burn either coal, natural gas or oil to generate the steam sent throughout campus. Johnson said it's important to have different fuel sources because of times like a day in January 2014 when oil shipments were slow and a natural gas pipeline explosion in Canada stopped delivery of that fuel source as well."We've had some close calls," he said.The building's second oldest boiler burns coal and was installed in 1952, it, along with another coal-burning boiler installed in 1966, was assembled piece by piece from the ceiling down and hangs suspended so when it heats up, it expands vertically downward.Repairing that boiler, or several of the others in the steam plant, requires a little imagination as Steam Plant Manager Craig Machart said it's impossible to buy parts for the dated machines.In some cases, employees have learned how to make the parts themselves or special-order them."When you add it all up and look at total cost of operations there's no question in our mind we're spending more money in the way we're running this plant because of what we have to do," Chakraborty said.Because it's crucial to have more boilers than necessary, Chakraborty said his staff is analyzing plant redundancy.On extremely cold days far below zero, Johnson said the plant sometimes has five boilers running at one time."You don't want have only three boilers when you need all three boilers because inevitably something will go down and in an institution this size you can't afford that," Johnson said.If boilers failed on a cold enough day, Johnson said that would mean sending students home. Chakraborty added that while temporary boilers can be brought in, they're costly and take days to hook up."I've got kids here and I don't want them to come home," Johnson joked, laughing. "I want to keep this working so they stay where they're supposed to be."NeedsChakraborty said he wants to repair the two 24-year old boilers in the steam plant, which would cost about $1 million.The life spans of those boilers are about 30 years each and repairs could extend that, Johnson said.On top of that, they hope to replace one of the oldest boilers with two smaller, newer ones, bringing the total cost of repair and replacement to about $20 million."We're not going to replace seven boilers," Chakraborty said.Repairs to the piping in the distribution center also is under consideration, including changing the current structure where steam exits the plant through one main pipe - creating a single point of failure and leaving the campus vulnerable, Johnson said.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2399490","attributes":{"alt":"Mark Johnson, Director of Operations and Maintenance points out the coal chutes in the upper half of the building.","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] Johnson said facilities managers at UND have pushed for updated boilers and equipment but that it's an easy need to shuffle to the bottom of a pile."It's like in your house; would you rather put new carpet or drapes in or a new furnace?" he said. "It's like, 'Do you think we can get just one more year out of it? Because I really like those curtains.'"It was at the May 2014 SBHE meeting where it came to light Valley City State University desperately needed boiler repairs and eventually saw $14 million in funding for that project through the 2015 higher education funding bill.According to the North Dakota State University website a new boiler was installed in 2015 to replace one that was 43 years old.But Chakraborty said he realizes it's not easy to get donor dollars or raise awareness for boilers, something most people don't even realize exist on UND's campus."No question, classroom buildings are more exciting," he said. "Nobody is going to line up here to cut a ribbon on a steam plant boiler but people will line up for a classroom building. That's the reality and we recognize that."What nowWith UND facing $9.5 million in cuts to the ongoing 2015-17 budget while its School of Medicine and Health Sciences also must cut $3.1 million.The 2014 Paulien study looked at all NDUS heating plants but only a section of all campus buildings. It found NDUS had $808 million in deferred maintenance needs for the next six years. The board then asked for a more comprehensive study.Chakraborty's recent study of UND's entire campus, referenced at a master planning forum in December, found a total deferred maintenance need of about $450 million over the next decade.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2399492","attributes":{"alt":"UND boilers, graphic courtesy of UND.","class":"media-image","height":"202","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"281"}}]] "When you're confronted with that large number your eyes glaze over," he said. "It's like, you can never solve this problem, so let's go do something else."Chakraborty talked about the old boilers at the winter master planning forum while UND Interim President Ed Schafer, during a budget meeting on campus earlier this month, said finding funds to address the problem was a priority.The university also has an agreement with Altru Health System that Johnson said has existed for decades and is renewed annually. The university sells Altru steam at a rate based on the work and fuel it takes to produce it.It's unclear how UND's overall boiler needs will be fixed but those involved in UND facilities said it's a priority."Like anything else, when you've got 100 people asking for needs it comes down to the more awareness, the better," Johnson said.Mark Johnson compared the boilers inside UND's steam plant to teapots that create steam used to heat buildings.But UND's seven boilers are 42 years old, on average. The newest two were installed more than two decades ago and the oldest is a whopping 64-years-old."Those teapots are way beyond their useful life," said Johnson, UND's facilities director of operations and maintenance.In 2014, a report commissioned by the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education found 35 of the 56 boilers at the state's 11 universities were "beyond useful life" with less than three or four years left to function. Further, deferred maintenance needs for the heating plants at North Dakota University System campuses was projected at $40 million through 2020.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2399484","attributes":{"alt":"Fire within the furnace seen through a welding helmet. Jesse Trelstad/ Grand Forks Herald","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] The report, compiled by the firm Paulien and Associates Inc., was first presented to a SBHE committee, where members expressed concern it didn't encompass all buildings, according to meeting minutes.The report was presented to the full SBHE board in May 2014 and at the time it was found UND would need major repairs within two years.The repairs ultimately weren't funded, but Johnson said he isn't pointing fingers. Instead, Johnson said he realizes boiler replacement and repairs are weighed against the needs of an entire campus and even larger university system."It wasn't that we didn't bring it up but like with anything else, they have to justify it with other needs," he said.Dave Chakraborty, UND's vice president for facilities management, said he's concerned if a boiler fails during the coldest months of winter, students could have to go home temporarily. "It's not a question any more of how long these could run," he said. "When a car has run for 200,000 miles it's not a question of if it will break, it's when it will break, no matter how well you've maintained it."Nuts and boltsThe inside of UND's steam plant is warm. Behind an entry way and conference room lies looming machinery, seemingly endless feet of pipe and the seven massive boilers that provide campus with not only heat, but humidification, heat for dining steam tables and instrument sterilization.According to data from the Office of Institutional Research, the steam plant was built 107 years ago and has seen eight additions or renovations since, the most recent of which occurred in 1993.
 Different boilers with varying capacities burn either coal, natural gas or oil to generate the steam sent throughout campus. Johnson said it's important to have different fuel sources because of times like a day in January 2014 when oil shipments were slow and a natural gas pipeline explosion in Canada stopped delivery of that fuel source as well."We've had some close calls," he said.The building's second oldest boiler burns coal and was installed in 1952, it, along with another coal-burning boiler installed in 1966, was assembled piece by piece from the ceiling down and hangs suspended so when it heats up, it expands vertically downward.Repairing that boiler, or several of the others in the steam plant, requires a little imagination as Steam Plant Manager Craig Machart said it's impossible to buy parts for the dated machines.In some cases, employees have learned how to make the parts themselves or special-order them."When you add it all up and look at total cost of operations there's no question in our mind we're spending more money in the way we're running this plant because of what we have to do," Chakraborty said.Because it's crucial to have more boilers than necessary, Chakraborty said his staff is analyzing plant redundancy.On extremely cold days far below zero, Johnson said the plant sometimes has five boilers running at one time."You don't want have only three boilers when you need all three boilers because inevitably something will go down and in an institution this size you can't afford that," Johnson said.If boilers failed on a cold enough day, Johnson said that would mean sending students home. Chakraborty added that while temporary boilers can be brought in, they're costly and take days to hook up."I've got kids here and I don't want them to come home," Johnson joked, laughing. "I want to keep this working so they stay where they're supposed to be."NeedsChakraborty said he wants to repair the two 24-year old boilers in the steam plant, which would cost about $1 million.The life spans of those boilers are about 30 years each and repairs could extend that, Johnson said.On top of that, they hope to replace one of the oldest boilers with two smaller, newer ones, bringing the total cost of repair and replacement to about $20 million."We're not going to replace seven boilers," Chakraborty said.Repairs to the piping in the distribution center also is under consideration, including changing the current structure where steam exits the plant through one main pipe - creating a single point of failure and leaving the campus vulnerable, Johnson said.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2399490","attributes":{"alt":"Mark Johnson, Director of Operations and Maintenance points out the coal chutes in the upper half of the building.","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] Johnson said facilities managers at UND have pushed for updated boilers and equipment but that it's an easy need to shuffle to the bottom of a pile."It's like in your house; would you rather put new carpet or drapes in or a new furnace?" he said. "It's like, 'Do you think we can get just one more year out of it? Because I really like those curtains.'"It was at the May 2014 SBHE meeting where it came to light Valley City State University desperately needed boiler repairs and eventually saw $14 million in funding for that project through the 2015 higher education funding bill.According to the North Dakota State University website a new boiler was installed in 2015 to replace one that was 43 years old.But Chakraborty said he realizes it's not easy to get donor dollars or raise awareness for boilers, something most people don't even realize exist on UND's campus."No question, classroom buildings are more exciting," he said. "Nobody is going to line up here to cut a ribbon on a steam plant boiler but people will line up for a classroom building. That's the reality and we recognize that."What nowWith UND facing $9.5 million in cuts to the ongoing 2015-17 budget while its School of Medicine and Health Sciences also must cut $3.1 million.The 2014 Paulien study looked at all NDUS heating plants but only a section of all campus buildings. It found NDUS had $808 million in deferred maintenance needs for the next six years. The board then asked for a more comprehensive study.Chakraborty's recent study of UND's entire campus, referenced at a master planning forum in December, found a total deferred maintenance need of about $450 million over the next decade.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2399492","attributes":{"alt":"UND boilers, graphic courtesy of UND.","class":"media-image","height":"202","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"281"}}]] "When you're confronted with that large number your eyes glaze over," he said. "It's like, you can never solve this problem, so let's go do something else."Chakraborty talked about the old boilers at the winter master planning forum while UND Interim President Ed Schafer, during a budget meeting on campus earlier this month, said finding funds to address the problem was a priority.The university also has an agreement with Altru Health System that Johnson said has existed for decades and is renewed annually. The university sells Altru steam at a rate based on the work and fuel it takes to produce it.It's unclear how UND's overall boiler needs will be fixed but those involved in UND facilities said it's a priority."Like anything else, when you've got 100 people asking for needs it comes down to the more awareness, the better," Johnson said.Mark Johnson compared the boilers inside UND's steam plant to teapots that create steam used to heat buildings.But UND's seven boilers are 42 years old, on average. The newest two were installed more than two decades ago and the oldest is a whopping 64-years-old."Those teapots are way beyond their useful life," said Johnson, UND's facilities director of operations and maintenance.In 2014, a report commissioned by the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education found 35 of the 56 boilers at the state's 11 universities were "beyond useful life" with less than three or four years left to function. Further, deferred maintenance needs for the heating plants at North Dakota University System campuses was projected at $40 million through 2020.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2399484","attributes":{"alt":"Fire within the furnace seen through a welding helmet. Jesse Trelstad/ Grand Forks Herald","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] The report, compiled by the firm Paulien and Associates Inc., was first presented to a SBHE committee, where members expressed concern it didn't encompass all buildings, according to meeting minutes.The report was presented to the full SBHE board in May 2014 and at the time it was found UND would need major repairs within two years.The repairs ultimately weren't funded, but Johnson said he isn't pointing fingers. Instead, Johnson said he realizes boiler replacement and repairs are weighed against the needs of an entire campus and even larger university system."It wasn't that we didn't bring it up but like with anything else, they have to justify it with other needs," he said.Dave Chakraborty, UND's vice president for facilities management, said he's concerned if a boiler fails during the coldest months of winter, students could have to go home temporarily. "It's not a question any more of how long these could run," he said. "When a car has run for 200,000 miles it's not a question of if it will break, it's when it will break, no matter how well you've maintained it."Nuts and boltsThe inside of UND's steam plant is warm. Behind an entry way and conference room lies looming machinery, seemingly endless feet of pipe and the seven massive boilers that provide campus with not only heat, but humidification, heat for dining steam tables and instrument sterilization.According to data from the Office of Institutional Research, the steam plant was built 107 years ago and has seen eight additions or renovations since, the most recent of which occurred in 1993.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2399487","attributes":{"alt":"Craig Machart, Steam Plant Manager, stands in front of one of the older boilers on UND's campus.","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] Different boilers with varying capacities burn either coal, natural gas or oil to generate the steam sent throughout campus. Johnson said it's important to have different fuel sources because of times like a day in January 2014 when oil shipments were slow and a natural gas pipeline explosion in Canada stopped delivery of that fuel source as well."We've had some close calls," he said.The building's second oldest boiler burns coal and was installed in 1952, it, along with another coal-burning boiler installed in 1966, was assembled piece by piece from the ceiling down and hangs suspended so when it heats up, it expands vertically downward.Repairing that boiler, or several of the others in the steam plant, requires a little imagination as Steam Plant Manager Craig Machart said it's impossible to buy parts for the dated machines.In some cases, employees have learned how to make the parts themselves or special-order them."When you add it all up and look at total cost of operations there's no question in our mind we're spending more money in the way we're running this plant because of what we have to do," Chakraborty said.Because it's crucial to have more boilers than necessary, Chakraborty said his staff is analyzing plant redundancy.On extremely cold days far below zero, Johnson said the plant sometimes has five boilers running at one time."You don't want have only three boilers when you need all three boilers because inevitably something will go down and in an institution this size you can't afford that," Johnson said.If boilers failed on a cold enough day, Johnson said that would mean sending students home. Chakraborty added that while temporary boilers can be brought in, they're costly and take days to hook up."I've got kids here and I don't want them to come home," Johnson joked, laughing. "I want to keep this working so they stay where they're supposed to be."NeedsChakraborty said he wants to repair the two 24-year old boilers in the steam plant, which would cost about $1 million.The life spans of those boilers are about 30 years each and repairs could extend that, Johnson said.On top of that, they hope to replace one of the oldest boilers with two smaller, newer ones, bringing the total cost of repair and replacement to about $20 million."We're not going to replace seven boilers," Chakraborty said.Repairs to the piping in the distribution center also is under consideration, including changing the current structure where steam exits the plant through one main pipe - creating a single point of failure and leaving the campus vulnerable, Johnson said.
 Johnson said facilities managers at UND have pushed for updated boilers and equipment but that it's an easy need to shuffle to the bottom of a pile."It's like in your house; would you rather put new carpet or drapes in or a new furnace?" he said. "It's like, 'Do you think we can get just one more year out of it? Because I really like those curtains.'"It was at the May 2014 SBHE meeting where it came to light Valley City State University desperately needed boiler repairs and eventually saw $14 million in funding for that project through the 2015 higher education funding bill.According to the North Dakota State University website a new boiler was installed in 2015 to replace one that was 43 years old.But Chakraborty said he realizes it's not easy to get donor dollars or raise awareness for boilers, something most people don't even realize exist on UND's campus."No question, classroom buildings are more exciting," he said. "Nobody is going to line up here to cut a ribbon on a steam plant boiler but people will line up for a classroom building. That's the reality and we recognize that."What nowWith UND facing $9.5 million in cuts to the ongoing 2015-17 budget while its School of Medicine and Health Sciences also must cut $3.1 million.The 2014 Paulien study looked at all NDUS heating plants but only a section of all campus buildings. It found NDUS had $808 million in deferred maintenance needs for the next six years. The board then asked for a more comprehensive study.Chakraborty's recent study of UND's entire campus, referenced at a master planning forum in December, found a total deferred maintenance need of about $450 million over the next decade.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2399492","attributes":{"alt":"UND boilers, graphic courtesy of UND.","class":"media-image","height":"202","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"281"}}]] "When you're confronted with that large number your eyes glaze over," he said. "It's like, you can never solve this problem, so let's go do something else."Chakraborty talked about the old boilers at the winter master planning forum while UND Interim President Ed Schafer, during a budget meeting on campus earlier this month, said finding funds to address the problem was a priority.The university also has an agreement with Altru Health System that Johnson said has existed for decades and is renewed annually. The university sells Altru steam at a rate based on the work and fuel it takes to produce it.It's unclear how UND's overall boiler needs will be fixed but those involved in UND facilities said it's a priority."Like anything else, when you've got 100 people asking for needs it comes down to the more awareness, the better," Johnson said.Mark Johnson compared the boilers inside UND's steam plant to teapots that create steam used to heat buildings.But UND's seven boilers are 42 years old, on average. The newest two were installed more than two decades ago and the oldest is a whopping 64-years-old."Those teapots are way beyond their useful life," said Johnson, UND's facilities director of operations and maintenance.In 2014, a report commissioned by the North Dakota State Board of Higher Education found 35 of the 56 boilers at the state's 11 universities were "beyond useful life" with less than three or four years left to function. Further, deferred maintenance needs for the heating plants at North Dakota University System campuses was projected at $40 million through 2020.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2399484","attributes":{"alt":"Fire within the furnace seen through a welding helmet. Jesse Trelstad/ Grand Forks Herald","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] The report, compiled by the firm Paulien and Associates Inc., was first presented to a SBHE committee, where members expressed concern it didn't encompass all buildings, according to meeting minutes.The report was presented to the full SBHE board in May 2014 and at the time it was found UND would need major repairs within two years.The repairs ultimately weren't funded, but Johnson said he isn't pointing fingers. Instead, Johnson said he realizes boiler replacement and repairs are weighed against the needs of an entire campus and even larger university system."It wasn't that we didn't bring it up but like with anything else, they have to justify it with other needs," he said.Dave Chakraborty, UND's vice president for facilities management, said he's concerned if a boiler fails during the coldest months of winter, students could have to go home temporarily. "It's not a question any more of how long these could run," he said. "When a car has run for 200,000 miles it's not a question of if it will break, it's when it will break, no matter how well you've maintained it."Nuts and boltsThe inside of UND's steam plant is warm. Behind an entry way and conference room lies looming machinery, seemingly endless feet of pipe and the seven massive boilers that provide campus with not only heat, but humidification, heat for dining steam tables and instrument sterilization.According to data from the Office of Institutional Research, the steam plant was built 107 years ago and has seen eight additions or renovations since, the most recent of which occurred in 1993.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2399487","attributes":{"alt":"Craig Machart, Steam Plant Manager, stands in front of one of the older boilers on UND's campus.","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] Different boilers with varying capacities burn either coal, natural gas or oil to generate the steam sent throughout campus. Johnson said it's important to have different fuel sources because of times like a day in January 2014 when oil shipments were slow and a natural gas pipeline explosion in Canada stopped delivery of that fuel source as well."We've had some close calls," he said.The building's second oldest boiler burns coal and was installed in 1952, it, along with another coal-burning boiler installed in 1966, was assembled piece by piece from the ceiling down and hangs suspended so when it heats up, it expands vertically downward.Repairing that boiler, or several of the others in the steam plant, requires a little imagination as Steam Plant Manager Craig Machart said it's impossible to buy parts for the dated machines.In some cases, employees have learned how to make the parts themselves or special-order them."When you add it all up and look at total cost of operations there's no question in our mind we're spending more money in the way we're running this plant because of what we have to do," Chakraborty said.Because it's crucial to have more boilers than necessary, Chakraborty said his staff is analyzing plant redundancy.On extremely cold days far below zero, Johnson said the plant sometimes has five boilers running at one time."You don't want have only three boilers when you need all three boilers because inevitably something will go down and in an institution this size you can't afford that," Johnson said.If boilers failed on a cold enough day, Johnson said that would mean sending students home. Chakraborty added that while temporary boilers can be brought in, they're costly and take days to hook up."I've got kids here and I don't want them to come home," Johnson joked, laughing. "I want to keep this working so they stay where they're supposed to be."NeedsChakraborty said he wants to repair the two 24-year old boilers in the steam plant, which would cost about $1 million.The life spans of those boilers are about 30 years each and repairs could extend that, Johnson said.On top of that, they hope to replace one of the oldest boilers with two smaller, newer ones, bringing the total cost of repair and replacement to about $20 million."We're not going to replace seven boilers," Chakraborty said.Repairs to the piping in the distribution center also is under consideration, including changing the current structure where steam exits the plant through one main pipe - creating a single point of failure and leaving the campus vulnerable, Johnson said.[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"2399490","attributes":{"alt":"Mark Johnson, Director of Operations and Maintenance points out the coal chutes in the upper half of the building.","class":"media-image","height":"320","title":"","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"480"}}]] Johnson said facilities managers at UND have pushed for updated boilers and equipment but that it's an easy need to shuffle to the bottom of a pile."It's like in your house; would you rather put new carpet or drapes in or a new furnace?" he said. "It's like, 'Do you think we can get just one more year out of it? Because I really like those curtains.'"It was at the May 2014 SBHE meeting where it came to light Valley City State University desperately needed boiler repairs and eventually saw $14 million in funding for that project through the 2015 higher education funding bill.According to the North Dakota State University website a new boiler was installed in 2015 to replace one that was 43 years old.But Chakraborty said he realizes it's not easy to get donor dollars or raise awareness for boilers, something most people don't even realize exist on UND's campus."No question, classroom buildings are more exciting," he said. "Nobody is going to line up here to cut a ribbon on a steam plant boiler but people will line up for a classroom building. That's the reality and we recognize that."What nowWith UND facing $9.5 million in cuts to the ongoing 2015-17 budget while its School of Medicine and Health Sciences also must cut $3.1 million.The 2014 Paulien study looked at all NDUS heating plants but only a section of all campus buildings. It found NDUS had $808 million in deferred maintenance needs for the next six years. The board then asked for a more comprehensive study.Chakraborty's recent study of UND's entire campus, referenced at a master planning forum in December, found a total deferred maintenance need of about $450 million over the next decade.
 "When you're confronted with that large number your eyes glaze over," he said. "It's like, you can never solve this problem, so let's go do something else."Chakraborty talked about the old boilers at the winter master planning forum while UND Interim President Ed Schafer, during a budget meeting on campus earlier this month, said finding funds to address the problem was a priority.The university also has an agreement with Altru Health System that Johnson said has existed for decades and is renewed annually. The university sells Altru steam at a rate based on the work and fuel it takes to produce it.It's unclear how UND's overall boiler needs will be fixed but those involved in UND facilities said it's a priority."Like anything else, when you've got 100 people asking for needs it comes down to the more awareness, the better," Johnson said.

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