HPC and SET buildings showing signs of wear and tear

The new SET building has been open for not even two semesters and the HPC opened less than two years ago. However, the buildings already show signs of wear and tear. Photo by Misha Mosiichuk.

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Dixie State University’s Human Performance Center and Science, Engineering and Technology buildings already look rundown after being opened for a short amount of time.

When it rains, the copper of the SET building leaves watermarks behind that don’t go away and this was known when deciding what materials to use when building.

“We know that copper ages. That aging process is completed with natural elements,” said Jon Gibb, director of facilities planning and construction. “Depending on how much rain, sun, wind the copper panels receive, that will drive the aging process.”

In most buildings, wall finishing is picked to provide the most durability, but Gibb said the wall finishing in the SET was picked to look more attractive and inviting to students. In doing this, the walls aren’t as durable as others and scuff marks are already showing. 

“Scuff marks show building use which is an indication that students like the space,” Gibb said. “Our purpose in building space is to make sure it is built in a way that enhances the student learning experience.”

It takes time to fix scuffs and building wear, but Gibb said maintenance teams are in and out of campus buildings Monday through Friday and reach every building on campus weekly. 

As far as the HPC goes, the damages might be worse. Most of them are on the third floor where the indoor track is.

The HPC has a number of leaks from the roof and buckets are placed under these leaks, which could be a hazard to students around. Facilities management is aware of these leaks and they were repaired immediately after a storm. 

“We do not take building leaks lightly as this can create larger maintenance issues,” Gibb said. 

Roofs are typically replaced 20-30 years after installment and leaks can form shortly after construction of near the end of its life. Flat roofs provide great space for equipment and basketball courts, but when a leak forms, it can travel horizontally until it is discovered, which can make finding and repairing them more difficult. 

Westley Petty, facilities project manager, said, “Though there have been a few known issues with the leaking roof, the building itself is structurally sound and the university is actively working with the division of facilities construction and management and the contractor to mitigate the water leak issue.”

There are also tripping hazards on the Will Hill leading up to the roof. This can be dangerous for students using it, as there is a four-story drop off the building next to it. 

“The temperature fluctuation makes it shrink and expand and it will always need attention,” said Sherry Ruesch, assistant vice president of facilities management. “The rubber had to be the flooring because otherwise the ramp would always be too slippery to use. By having that rubber, which is rated for outdoor use, we also chose a product that is impacted by the changes in temperature.”

The indoor track on the third floor of the HPC has recently been soaked in water, making it difficult for students to use.

“The last time I used it, about a week ago, the corner of the track right above the weight room was soaked,” said Ethan Snell, a sophomore media studies major from Sandy. “It almost looks like the whole roof is giving out, but you only really notice if you’re on the track.” 

Ruesch said that part of the roof in the HPC has leaked since installing it. She said the reason it has not been fixed on the inside is because it will only leak again and cause more damages.

“We are working with the original contractor and the state of Utah on fixing several on-going leaks in the building,” Ruesch said. “That roof was very complicated when first installed and the details had to be completed very precisely.”

DSU facilities management has approximately 100 employees working every day to repair, plan and provide solutions to issues on campus. Building management chose the best contractors in the state of Utah, each contractor must go through a selection process highlighting their qualifications, experience, project schedule, strength of team and risk mitigation process. 

“Facilities Management is aware of all of the existing issues and is actively working to mitigate them,” Petty said. 

Most of these damages are because of student use, aside from the leaks in the roof of the HPC. DSU facilities management have their teams in each of these buildings as much as needed in order to fix these issues.

Ruesch said facilities management is planning on repairing the roof in the HPC after commencement in May and they won’t stop until it’s fixed.

Maintenance teams are constantly working on fixing these issues as they come up, but some of them may take time to be fully fixed. The roof is one of these issues. DSU facilities management does not take leaks lightly, so they will continue to work until each problem is fixed.