The Catholic University of America

Power Plant Cooling Towers Installation

Campus Energy Project Under Way

In mid-November Catholic University began a campus-wide upgrade of our utility systems. This includes 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 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 and the laying of  underground piping, shown in red above, began in  December. Trenching and pipe installation started at the Power Plant on John McCormack Drive and continued across the Pangborn Parking lot to Maloney Hall. Trenching and piping will continue 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.


Current Impact to Campus Community

  • Pangborn Parking Lot will remain closed for the duration of the project. 
  • University Pedestrian Corridor (aka Pangborn Road) will remain permanently closed to vehicular traffic. Pedestrian access and access to the academic buildings will remain available and marked with directional signage. 
  •  Vehicular traffic coming in from 7th Street will be diverted through the Basilica parking lot in order to access west side of main campus (McMahon, Caldwell, Pryzbyla, Leahy, etc.)
  • Vehicle traffic around McMahon will be one-way as shown on the attached logistics map.
  • Parking Lot between Mullen and McGivney/Shahan will remain open.
  • Crough Alley has been reopened as of Nov. 26, 2018.

Click on the following Site Plans for logistic details for fencing, vehicular and pedestrian traffic, ADA access and contractor routes:


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 Office of Transportation & Parking Services in 242 Pryzbyla Center  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. Check this website: Updates on the status of the Campus Energy Project and its impact on the campus community will be posted regularly.
  2. Call: Facilities Services at x5121. As always, if an emergency situation arises, notify the Department of Public Safety at x5111.