In 2020 as a result of the pandemic, Metropolitan State University reviewed and implemented ventilation strategies in accordance with CDC guidelines. This included flushing buildings with fresh air for extended operating hours. he buildings are ventilated for two hours prior and after normal occupied hours with fresh air.
Filtration ratings and preventative maintenance schedules were reviewed and existing maintenance practices confirmed. Filtration levels in our St Paul campus buildings are at recommended levels.
Additionally, we conducted an independent mechanical review by TKDA engineering to document ventilation in spaces and review air handling practices, outdoor airflow rates and occupant density in campus spaces. The engineering review used Minnesota Mechanical code and ASHRAE Standard 62.1 Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality standards for specifying the minimum outdoor air (ventilation) rates of circulation through various occupancy classifications. The review included guidance for SARS-COV-2 which addressed transmission through the air of various pathogens in office and education environments.
Five site visits to document building automation system values and filtration levels were conducted. Two site visits to verify missing information on existing conditions and use of spaces. These site visits included the St Paul campus buildings, Midway Technology Center and the Dental Clinic.
The Minneapolis College (Old and New Harmon) office and classroom spaces were not included in this mechanical assessment. That building is planned for extensive renovation as part of a Capital bonding initiative. Design work is beginning in summer 2021 for this project. Construction work which includes extensive HVAC and electrical work as well as interior spaces renovation is scheduled to begin in late summer 2022.
The New Harmon air handler and variable air volume system was recently upgraded specifically for the safety of staff and students in repose to the pandemic. The air handler had a new heating coil added to allow us to bring in more outside air in cooler weather. All the classrooms and offices in New Harman had the pneumatic controls replaced with electronic to be able to monitor the cubic feet of air and the amount of air changes per hour. These upgrades will also help greatly with providing consistently comfortable temperatures. The New Harmon air exchange rate is approximately 11.85 per hour.
The rooftop air handling unit serving Old Harmon is programmed to run 24 hours Monday through Friday for temperature control and to provide additional air exchanges in the space. The air exchange rate of Old Harmon is approximately 8.45. per hour.
Minneapolis College building automation software is monitored throughout the day by the plant engineers starting at 5:30 a.m. and continuing until 10:00 p.m. to ensure the system is functioning properly.
The Technology Center building is currently undergoing an upgrade for the building temperature controls. This project upgrade is being completed on first and second floor in 2021. Lower level spaces and classrooms will be completed in 2022.
Campus Operations are working with the Midway landlord to validate air supply as the office and classroom spaces are converted to digital controls.
The Dental Clinic is a leased space. The building uses MERV 7 filters. HEPA filtration is also being used in the dental clinic at the individual operatories.