Boiler System Update: Explaining the New Hole

In front of Whitehouse Hall, an orange construction fence surrounds a mound of dirt and a hole with exposed pipes. This week, students noticed the new hole in the ground across from the KC (Photo by Bella Bakeman).

On Jan. 14, Community Living was alerted to a possible leak along a steam line on campus. Since then, there has been a construction site in front of the Kellogg Center (KC). Students have not received an official update since the email sent by Assistant Dean of Community Living Clark Dawood on Jan. 16.

Director of Maintenance Operations, Jim Diaz said via email that the ground in front of the Robinson building, KC and now Whitehouse Hall was excavated due to a leak in the condensate piping in those locations.

 “When the steam has transferred its energy to make heat it condenses back into water. This water, now called condensate, is then sent by pipe back to the boiler house to again be made into steam,” Diaz said via email. 

Now, facilities are working to reconstruct “a whole new pipe” from the upstream where the leak began to the street in the case of the leak at Robinson and the KC. As for Whitehouse, there is currently a temporary repair on the leak, Diaz said via email.

“When we fill the piping back up with condensate we will see if there are any more leaks before we apply a permanent repair on the Whitehouse leak,” Diaz said via email. “As far as other leaks, resulting in holes, we do not anticipate any, but that is why we will test the system before we restore everything to normal.”

A pile of dirt with a pipe sticking out of it in front of the construction site by the KC and Robinson. To the left is a new path forged by students walking to and from the KC (Photo by Bella Bakeman).
A hole with exposed pipe and mud, surrounded by an orange construction fence in front of Whitehouse Hall, across from the first dig site (Photo by Bella Bakeman).
A Deere excavator stands atop the ground behind dug-up ground revealing pipes. Since Jan. 12, there has been construction to determine the source of the leak, which is more visible now since the snow has melted (Photo by Bella Bakeman).
In between the KC and Robinson, exposed pipes lay unearthed, surrounded by construction and caution tape as cars drive by. Students have had to navigate around the construction to get to classes and the Eat Shop (Photo by Bella Bakeman).
A pile of dirt from the construction site spills out onto the sidewalk in front of the Kellogg Center (Photo by Bella Bakeman).
About Bella Bakeman 52 Articles
Bella Bakeman is a junior from Berkley, Michigan. She is majoring in English with a Secondary Education Concentration and minoring in Political Science. Bella seeks to bring both joy and justice to her readers. She can be found with a camera around her neck, notebook in hand and pen in her pocket. Contact Bella via email at

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