Sat. Aug 13th, 2022

West Chester’s new residence hall project received two new updates, including proposed names for the former Dormitory ‘A’ and Dormitory ‘B’ and the planning for implementation of geothermal energy systems.It has been decided by University officials that Dormitory ‘A’ that will be constructed on Hollinger Field will become Allegheny Hall. Dormitory ‘B’ will named Brandywine Hall and will sit between Wayne and University Halls.

According to Richard Pryzwara, executive director of the WCU foundation, both names were chosen to have a Pennsylvania centered focus, but would be available to be renamed at a later time.

Geothermal energy, according to Pryzwara, will save West Chester University and the environment millions of dollars in energy costs and fossil fuels.

Geothermal energy does not create energy alone, but it reduces costs by using underground cool pockets to reduce strain on heating and cooling pumps, thus saving energy required. Since the grounds stays a cool and constant temperature year-round, after a number of feet below the surface, geothermal energy is renewable and reliable.

By drilling a series of wells, the system can distribute the excess heat into storage to be used at a later point. The wells are drilled on the outside of the buildings so that if pipes rupture or burst they can be repaired, but according to Pryzwara, the systems are reliable against those problems.

Systems can last 20-30 years with minimal maintenance and most geothermal systems recoup the money they save between 2-10 years, according to www.energymatch.com

The Village already uses geothermal heating and the future site 25 University Ave., the former Swope Hall, is in the process of having a geothermal system installed.

“The Earth is a great heat bank,” said Tom Clark, manager of facilities planning, back in 2006. Clark also noted that the systems could also save hundreds of thousands of pounds of carbon dioxide annually.

The new dormitories will also have non-gaseous carpeting and light-harvesting sensors to reduce energy and environmental cost.

California University of Pa. installed geothermal energy process in their six new residence halls. The systems added over $1 million to the constructions cost, and included 150 wells being dug, but the University received that money as energy savings back in less than three years.

According to Pryzwara the two building’s systems are estimated to cost over $2 million, but will save more money over the life of the building in the amount of coal burned.

He continued, that the long-term goal to eliminate the coal power plant in front of Hollinger Field House could happen in 10-15 years, but geothermal energy would need to be in place.

Frank Stern is a fourth-year student and majoring in English with a journalism minor. He can be reached at FS628548@wcupa.edu.

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