Boiler System Update: Leak Fixed, Sidewalk Replaced

Newly laid sidewalk leading to the front of the KC from Hannah Street. Director of Maintenance Jim Diaz said the minimum temperature to pour concrete is 40 degrees, and last week’s warm weather allowed for the repair earlier than planned (Photo by Bonnie Lord).

On Monday, work on repouring the sidewalk leading to the front of the Kellogg Center (KC) from Hannah Street commenced. By Thursday, the sidewalk was finished and open to foot traffic.

Director of Maintenance Jim Diaz said a warm turn in the weather allowed for an earlier repair to the sidewalk than previously anticipated.

“It worked out, it worked out very well,” Diaz said. 

A skid steer loader and cement mixer truck transport concrete to the new sidewalk outside of the KC (Photo by Bonnie Lord).

Since the start of the spring semester, this sidewalk has been under construction while facilities searched for a leak in the condensate line between the KC and Robinson Hall. Diaz said the leak was preventing condensate being sent to the east side of campus from returning to the boiler system.

“We’re shoving (water) out to keep all of those buildings on the east side warm, but we’re not getting any hot water back, so we just keep using water and keep using water and keep using water,” Diaz said. 

Despite minus 7 degree weather and the resulting steam causing visibility issues, the hired construction company, Hunter-Prell, found the leak 30 feet east of the tunnel on Jan. 21, Diaz said. 

“That particular set of piping, all the way into the tunnel, has been replaced,” Diaz said. “And that’s been insulated, there’ll be 50 years before anybody sees any problems with that.”

Condensate pipe problems are nothing new to Albion College, Diaz said.

“We’ve had condensate leaks over by Mitchell and stuff – it usually takes a day. We dig it up and change it out,” Diaz said. “But this, because of the weather, and having to keep that whole east side warm, for both students and so pipes wouldn’t burst, that was a lot of work.”

With the pipe replaced, the holes filled and the sidewalk replaced, Diaz said both Hunter-Prell and facilities managed the situation well.

“I don’t think I would have done anything differently. I would have gotten more sleep,” Diaz said. “Everybody did a good job.”

Bella Bakeman also contributed to reporting on this story. 

An excavator sits on top of the refilled hole in front of Whitehouse Hall (Photo by Bella Bakeman).
On the corner of Hannah and Porter Street, a square of sidewalk is refilled. On Jan. 31, this patch was dug up to replace a fiber cable (Photo by Bella Bakeman).

About Bonnie Lord 40 Articles
Bonnie Lord is a sophomore from Alma, Michigan and is an environmental science major at Albion College. She investigates questions of infrastructure, water quality and the changing relationship the community of Albion navigates with the environment. She enjoys bird watching, reading, and dismantling the patriarchy. Contact Bonnie via email at

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