Old HVAC Units, Poor IAQ, Budget Woes Create Problems for University
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July 26, 2021 – Contact the editorial staff of FacilitiesNet »
The COVID-19 pandemic forced facility managers across the country to address air quality in their institutional and commercial facilities. Most FMs were ready to immediately embrace upgrades, although sometimes funding was not always readily available to do so at the required level.
Such is the case at the University of South Florida in Tampa, which had to prioritize the condition of more than… 600 different HVAC units on campus, and then decide which units would be tackled, according to The Oracle, the school’s student newspaper.
The unit review, which began when the pandemic began in March 2020, found that 76 units needed to be replaced. The units consisted of the air treatment, conditioning and filtering of the various campuses of the university.
But as is often the case, funding has proven to be a real problem. A lack of funds from the state’s deferred maintenance program — Florida hasn’t funded the division since 2019 — has slowed USF’s efforts.
A university facilities official estimates nearly $45 million in funding will be needed to upgrade the school’s HVAC systems. The lack of funding means that only the worst units in the entire system will be replaced.
The experience made all the more difficult for facility officers is the amount the school has collected in response to the coronavirus, but has not been spent on the HVAC projects. Nearly $200 million has been distributed in one form or another in the past year.
Dave Lubach is the editor-in-chief of Facility Market.