Wolves in Hot Water

Construction, limited space, moves...COVID?!? Oh my...

The Hot Water Project is moving forward! 

You may remember the meetings we held in January 2020 and talked about how we may have to squish together into three buildings to accommodate the project. However, in a COVID world ... there will be no squishing!

If nothing else...the COVID pandemic has taught us that we can overcome nearly any challenge. We quickly learned how to work remotely while still meeting our students' needs...and, we overcome this challenge too!


Thank you for your help and patience, Red Wolves! Read on to find out the latest.


IU East is converting the heating system in Whitewater Hall to a hot water system. The IU East facilities team, in cooperation with the cooperation of the IU Architects Office and construction vendors, began Phase One in May 2020. That initial phase is will be completed in December and we will enter into the project's Phase Two.  

Key facts

  • Key aspects of our physical plant operations fall within the purview of the office of the Indiana University Vice President for Capital Planning & Facilities—they are not campus decisions. This project has been approved by the IU Board of Trustees (our governing board).
  • Our building control systems for heat in Whitewater Hall are well beyond the average life expectancy of such equipment and must be replaced.
  • New equipment will allow: a) more consistent temperature control in our spaces; and b) the ability to change set points when the building is unoccupied.
  • Right now, IU East has electric heat. Engineers from the Office of the Vice President of Capital Planning and Facilities and from an engineering consulting firm have completed several cost and energy saving analyses for the IU East campus --all of which conclude that we should install hot water heat and use natural gas to heat the water at the present time. This is the most efficient and cost-effective way to heat the water today. (We are the only electric campus left at IU—all others have been converted.) To accomplish this, there will be new boilers installed in the WZ basement, and the ductwork and other mechanicals in the ceilings will be replaced.
  • The natural gas system will decrease the campus electricity consumption by a significant amount. Most electricity in Indiana is produced by the burning of coal. While both coal and natural gas are fossil fuels, natural gas is a far cleaner mechanism by comparison. Thus, the campus’ carbon footprint will be reduced significantly.
  • Note that this does not preclude a different energy source (such as solar) to be used for heating the hot water in the future, when it becomes cost efficient at our large scale.
  • Funding for this project primarily comes from the state (“Repair & Rehabilitation” funding). This type of funding is specifically allocated for campus infrastructure needs and is quite restricted, and must be spent within a certain timeframe.

Chancellor's presentation


The top 10 most asked questions from the Wolves in Hot Water information sessions are below - with COVID updates. If you have questions on the project that you do not see represented in the categories below, contact Yemi Mahoney at ymahoney@iu.edu.

Original response: Funding for this project primarily comes from the state (“Repair & Rehabilitation” funding). This type of funding is specifically allocated for campus infrastructure needs and is quite restricted, and must be spent within a certain timeframe.

Campus is also responsible for a smaller portion of the project which will be provided by the general fund.

Updated response (5/19): This statement remains accurate. 

Original response: This is under consideration. We have reached out to Ivy Tech and our area high school partners. We are also examining space that will be vacated by Purdue Polytechnic. There is a sub-committee that is already in the process of working on a plan.

Updated response (5/19): EVC Michelle Malott, Dr. Parul Khurana and Heatherlynn Barrett have developed a plan to conduct science courses and labs that will not require the use of off-site locations. 

Original response: The details of how various faculty and staff members will move to a new workspace will be developed in coming weeks. This will occur after bids have been received and a timeline has been confirmed. Moves will not be permanent, and you will not be expected to find your bunk buddy.

Updated response (5/19): The COVID pandemic has taught us that working remotely is possible. It has also created a situation in which having a "bunk buddy" is not reasonable. A small group continues to explore workplace options that consider student needs, campus needs, and how those priorities relate to Hot Water and COVID. Not an easy task!

Original response: Staff members will be responsible for their personal items. A plan is being developed to provide assistance to move items necessary to complete your daily work, such as important files, computers, etc.

Updated response (5/19): This statement remains accurate. 

Original response: There will be a conscious effort to maintain a positive work continuity. However, flexibility, patience, and understanding will be important to the success of this project.

Updated response (5/19): This statement remains accurate. 

Original response: We will continue to use the Office of External Affairs, specifically Amber Hall, to schedule on and off-campus events. Amber is also the contact for scheduling meeting space.

The Office of the Registrar will continue to schedule classes and manage classroom space.

Updated response (5/19): In a COVID-19 environment, face to face events are not taking place. However, when they return, please contact Amber Hall. In the meantime, Amber can all assist with virtual event planning.

Original response: Your safety is very important to us. Similar to the many ongoing construction projects that occur regularly on this campus, we encourage you to be aware of signage and take general safety precautions.

Updated response (5/19): This response remains accurate and also includes your health and safety related to COVID-19. 

Original response: This project will affect us all. It's important that we maximize our campus' resources and exercise flexibility, understanding, and patience. One of the primary reasons for our extensive planning for this construction project is to minimize the pressures this places on our students. They will be at the forefront of our decision-making process. However, it's important to know that from time to time, student activities, enrollment events, and student-athlete schedules may be impacted. We will do our best to minimize those occasions.

Updated response (5/19): This statement remains accurate. 

Original response: Telecommunicating is under consderation. Details for how that may occur have not yet been determined.

Updated response (5/19): Well, it looks like we've mastered this one! A small group is examining how our new-found ability to work remotely may be able to relieve space pressures during the construction period. 

Original response: Yes, and we are making an effort to try and combine this project with others that need to occur in that space.

Updated response (5/19): This statement remains accurate. 

Combing spaces for offices & classrooms

  • Provide trailers to offer additional space for offices or classrooms.
  • Partner with other colleges, schools, non-profits, or vacant stores in Richmond to provide classroom, office, or science laboratory space.
  • Find available conference rooms or vacant offices on campus to provide communal workspaces for faculty to have office hours & meet with students.
  • Group students services (such as enrollment, bursar, registrar) together so students can have a “one-stop shop.”

Science courses & laboratory spaces

  • Change the fall schedule to offer more laboratory courses in the spring.
  • Consider a creative solution such as teaching the course section in fall, followed by the lab section in spring.

Course schedules

  • Utilize synchronous teaching (hybrid zoom classrooms) in order to free up classroom space/time.
  • Consider scheduling classes once a week for longer periods of time.
  • Move more fall courses to this summer’s schedule to help free space.
  • Courses that can go online go that route.


  • Identify employees on campus who could work from home.
  • Think about a policy about presence on campus and demonstrates IU East’s commitment to it despite temporary telecommuting arrangement.

The Den & Food Services

  • Provide more options at Brewfus in case The Den is unavailable.
  • Bring in food trucks as an alternative and/or have coffee carts in buildings.
  • Rent empty restaurant space off-campus to allow catering to continue for campus events.

Campus events & visits

  • Plan for New Student Orientations now to organize limited spaces while welcoming new students to campus.
  • Prioritize offices to host events.
  • Partner with local colleges & non-profits to host cultural events.