Stockton College, New Jersey

CNN Science Report

Recognized for its commitment to the environment, distinctive academic programs, and the high quality and diversity of its faculty and students, Stockton College, with an enrollment of over 5,600 full and part-time students, is an undergraduate college of arts, sciences and professional studies within the New Jersey system of higher education.

Stockton is located on a 1,586 acre campus in the forested pine lands of southern New Jersey in Galloway Township, 12 miles northwest of Atlantic City and about 3 miles northeast of the Atlantic City International Airport located in Hamilton Township.

The college's 2½ square mile campus includes two hospitals, the 250-bed Atlantic City Medical Center Mainland Division and the 80-bed Betty Bacharach Rehabilitation Hospital.

Nearly 2,000 students reside year round in Stockton's 16 dormitory buildings and 256 garden apartments. On a typical day, several thousand persons, students, faculty, staff and the public attend, work, visit and participate in the full range of instructional, recreational, cultural, athletic and public service programs offered by the college.

To support effectively the operation of these programs, the college must furnish many of the services that are provided typically by a small city. For example, Stockton operates its own water system, which includes a 1.2 million gallons-a-day capacity water treatment plant. There are over 3½ miles of asphalt roadways on campus as well as 40 acres of parking lots, 2 miles of walkways, and 4 miles of secondary roads that the college maintains and repairs.

Electrical power to operate is maintained by Stockton through an underground primary electrical distribution system of 13,000 volts that stretches over 1½ miles in length. Thirty-eight secondary electrical substations operate to reduce primary electrical service to usable current. A secondary underground electrical distribution system of over 50 miles in length provides site lighting for the college's roadways, parking lots, and walkways. On a weekly basis, the college picks up and disposes of about 350 cubic yards of trash and recycles over 15 cubic yards of paper and about 75 barrels of plastic, glass and aluminum.

Heat, ventilation and air conditioning services operate around-the-clock 365 days a year through rooftop units ranging from 10 to 40 tons.

In many ways, Stockton's infrastructure requirements do resemble those operated and maintained by a small city. When these essential services work they are barely noticed. When they fail or break down, the operation of the college is disrupted; sometimes seriously so. Replacement of Stockton's HVAC system is necessary because the college's originally installed equipment has approached and in many cases exceeded the end of its useful life. Replacement parts for the college's existing gas-fired DX multi-zone units are scarce, costly and difficult to obtain. Maintenance is expensive and time consuming. The systems which were installed when energy supplies were abundant and costs low are now inefficient to operate.

Fortunately, Stockton has found a solution to meet its pressing HVAC infrastructure requirements. This solution results from a public and private sector partnership forged between the college, Atlantic Electric, and the New Jersey Departments of Environmental Protection and Energy and Higher Education that have all awarded funds totaling more than $5,000,000 to install what is perhaps the nation's largest ground-coupled water source heat pump system that will replace the institution's vintage gas-fired HVAC system. When completed, Stockton's geothermal energy system will preserve in an energy efficient, cost effective and environmentally sound manner, the substantial capital investment in the main academic complex of Stockton College.

Conversion to the new geothermal heating, ventilating and air conditioning system occurred in two phases. First, 62 original HVAC roof-top units were removed and subsequently replaced with new high-efficiency geothermal heat pumps. Second, the Trane units were connected to the closed-loop piping and pumping system. Replacement activities initiated at K-Wing and progressed northward through the academic complex to A-Wing in a 2-day period over the weekend following the end of the fall semester.

A repetitive operational sequence was followed. First an original HVAC unit, which ranged in weight from 7,500 to 9,500 pounds, was shackled to a 125 foot tether and removed from its roof top location by helicopter. The removed unit was transported to a designated loading and drop-off zone adjacent to the college's track.

By using a repetitive sequencing procedure, the average per-unit completion time for removal and installation by helicopter was held to just under 10 minutes. This enabled the college's general contractor to accomplish safely this phase without disrupting the operation of the college.