UND steam plant replacement could start this fall

Mar 27, 2018

UND is preparing to replace its aging steam plant.

UND Assistant Vice President for Facilities Mike Pieper said the University is putting the final touches on the engineering plan. That should be done by summer, and Pieper said construction should begin this fall.

"It'll be a smaller plant," Pieper said. "We're going to move the plant, so it will no longer anchor the main courtyard, next to our beautiful academic buildings."

Pieper said the plant will be a lot more efficient, and much less noticeable.

"You won't have as high stacks," Pieper said. "And you won't see that type of emission that you see now."

The cost to replace the plant itself is $50 million, plus another $20 to $25 million for some mechanical upgrades around campus.

No state general fund money will be involved. Rather, it will be paid off by fees charged students, as well as sales of steam to private partners.

"Our largest client is Altru (hospital)," Pieper said. "We also sell steam to the state for the School for the Blind, and we sell to the Grand Forks school district for Lake Agassiz School, and there are a handful of smaller users, such as the fraternities and sororities."

Pieper said the construction timeline is dependent on the plant getting necessary permits.

"The new plant is so much more efficient," Pieper said. "It will be an 'environmental positive.' So the permitting is a little bit easier that way."

The plant will likely be completed by the fall of 2020.