Planned construction on campus may affect BYU-Idaho students as they commute between the John W. Hart Building, the Manwaring Center and the David O. McKay Library.

Rolun Nielsen, the architecture and construction management services director, said a construction project will commence on May 22 by the west side of the McKay Library. This project will involve excavating old steam condensate pipes and replacing them with larger pipes.

Between the west side of the McKay Library and the Hart Building, one side of the sidewalk will be barricaded off for construction for the duration of the project. What does this mean for BYU-I students? It means students may need to expect delays between classes for the duration of construction time. Construction is expected to be completed by Sept. 29, 2017.

In compliance with regulations set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), there will be a barricade in place during the excavation.

The danger of digging up the pipe is the heat emitting from the pipes. “When they’re digging that trench and that pipe is still active and hot; it’s 385 degrees Fahrenheit,” Nielsen said. “And somebody walking through that trench comes into contact with that pipe, they’re going to have severe burns. That’s what our fence and our security is for. It’s to keep people out of that trench.”

Nielsen said the reason they are replacing the steam condensate pipes is to improve the capacity of the Central Energy Facility, or the steam plant. This facility provides heat for water and air temperatures for buildings on campus via steam. The construction is to replace the current pipes buried along the McKay Library with bigger ones.

“The reason we’re increasing the size of the lines there is that our latest utilities study show that the Snow Building, the Romney Building, the Clark Building, the Kirkham Building, and the Spori Building are at the edge of their design capacities and so we needed to increase that capacity that will allow those buildings to remain warm and the water to stay hot,” Nielsen said.

“The campus is operated on steam heating, and sometimes those pipes have leaks in them and they have to be replaced,” Nielsen said.

“The new Central Energy Facility was designed and built to support the university for the next 50 years,” said Wayne Clark, managing director of University Operations, prior to the heat plant’s construction, according to “Through competent design consultants and a great contractor, we will be able to support the future energy needs of BYU-Idaho and its students with this new facility for many years to come.”