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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities

IPF Craftsmanship – Building Services


July 20, 2016

Many people don’t know about MSU’s underground steam tunnels, let alone think about what it’s like to work in them. For MSU Infrastructure Planning and Facilities Building Services department, it’s a regular part of their job.

Building services pipefitters, those like Jason Pohl and Ryan Pung, both pipefitters, are no stranger to working down in the more than 15 miles of steam tunnels running under campus. They’re responsible for installing and maintaining the metal pipes that bring steam from the power plant and water back to be recycled. The steam fuels building heaters, hot water heaters and even water coolers for air conditioning.

About a year ago, pipefitters installed a new pipe under the Communications Arts and Sciences building. The tunnels can reach above 130 degrees Fahrenheit and welding gear just adds to the heat. Hydration is key.

Building Services does much more than just putting in steam tunnel pipes. They have installed art work at the Eli and Broad Art Museum, including the newest addition, “The Bird,” as well as putting in water tanks for the new fish lab in Giltner Hall and water coolers in Wells Hall.  

Building services also designed and installed a special kind of railing for the front of the MSU Bike Shop.  The railing has a lockable swing gate that makes receiving and loading materials coming to and from the shop safer and easier for everyone involved.

bike shop railing

“It’s a very nice bit of engineering that resolves a dilemma we had,” said Tim Potter, bike service center manager.

Building Services staff can be found on campus every day, helping IPF keep campus running.

“People on campus don’t realize how many little things we do every day. We’ve been called in on holidays before,” Pohl said.