The Catholic University of America

Preparing for the project

Campus Energy Project Begins This Month 

In mid-November Catholic University begins a campus-wide upgrade of our utility systems. This will include replacement of the heating and cooling plant and construction of new underground piping that will distribute utilities to campus buildings. The upgrade will improve the efficiency and reliability of utility distribution and will reduce overall energy consumption. The project will also enable future routine and emergency maintenance without significant disruption to the University community.

Energy Poject map 1
Click map to zoom

Timing and Location of Anticipated Work

This project is comprehensive and will affect virtually the entire campus community over an extended time period. Construction will occur in two phases, the first lasting about 20 months (Nov. 2017 to June 2019) and the second lasting approximately 12 months (June 2019 to June 2020).  Preparatory work is already underway inside the power plant to decommission and remove old equipment and to reinforce the existing structure. Installation of the new utility lines requires a 12-foot-wide and 6-to-8-foot-deep trench.

Phase I — Construction of the trench that will carry underground piping, shown in red above,  will begin in December, starting at the Power Plant on John McCormack Drive and continuing across the Pangborn Parking lot to Maloney Hall, onward to all south and west campus buildings up to and including Caldwell Hall.

Phase II — shown in blue, will connect the remaining campus buildings north and then east, beginning with Leahy Hall, and returning to the Power Plant. The trenching route was carefully designed to avoid existing buried infrastructure, high-traffic pedestrian areas, critical vehicular service points, and significant trees and landscape features.


Initial Impact to Campus Community

Initial impact map

The first significant impact on students, staff, and faculty will be closure of Pangborn Parking lot starting Dec. 11.  The lot will be closed for the duration of the project to provide space for construction vehicles, equipment, delivery vehicles, and construction materials. Those who currently park in this lot are advised to plan extra time to park in alternative lots or in the University garage; the latter has sufficient capacity to accommodate all cars previously parked in the Pangborn lot.

Closure of Pangborn Road: In late December, the roadway between John McCormack Road and the west edge of McCort-Ward Hall will be closed permanently to all vehicular traffic. This section of roadway will be demolished to enable excavation and installation of the utility lines and will be reconstructed as a pedestrian path, closed to all non-emergency vehicular traffic. 

Vehicles normally travelling to campus on Michigan Avenue and using this internal campus roadway to access parking lots along John McCormack Road will be directed to travel from Michigan Avenue, turn north on Harewood Road, east on Taylor St., and south on John McCormack Road to access the University Garage.



Construction image

There will be noticeable intermittent disruption to pedestrian walkways, automobile traffic, and parking spaces during construction. You should expect occasional closure of existing pedestrian and vehicular routes, noise from excavation and material deliveries, dust from open trenches, and minimal vibration during installation of the piping. Updates on changes to pedestrian routes and parking lot closures will be posted to this website.

Scope of Project

The project consists of four key components:

  • a renovated power plant,
  • improvements to heating,
  • improvements to cooling,
  • an improved fiber optic network capacity.


Displaced parkers from the Pangborn Lot can be accommodated elsewhere in University parking facilities without additional cost. Visit the service center in 121 Leahy or the transportation website for more information.


Shuttle Service

Shuttle routes will be periodically modified and posted as construction will impact existing routes. Communication related to changes in shuttle routes and parking restrictions will be provided on this website.


For More Information

  1. Attend a Discussion Forum: Open forums will be held Nov. 14, 28, and 29 to allow the campus community an opportunity to meet the Project Management Team and design and construction professionals, to review details of the plan, to ask questions, and offer suggestions.
  2. Check this website: Updates on the status of the Campus Energy Project and its impact on the campus community will be posted regularly.
  3. Call: Facilities Services at x5121. As always, if an emergency situation arises, notify the Department of Public Safety at x5111.