USF Tampa campus to receive new hot water system to prevent outages

Temporary boilers have been installed as the construction of a new heating system begins. ORACLE PHOTO/ JUSTIN SEECHARAN

A new hot water system is being installed after a campuswide outage of hot water affected student residents for the past two weeks.

Eight condensed, energy-efficient boilers will be replacing the previous three boilers that heated most of the water and air on campus, according to USF spokesperson Aaron Nichols. 

Construction of the new boilers is expected to be complete within 1-2 years, according to the Deferred Maintenance Projects Interactive Map.

Temporary boilers have been installed at the central plant near the post office and Marshall Student Center (MSC), USF spokesperson Jennifer Fleischman said. They have been providing hot water since last Tuesday after the old system broke down from prolonged use on Feb. 15.

The boilers are responsible for heating air across many buildings at the beginning campus.

Related: USF student residents don’t have hot water. Here’s why.

USF Housing emailed students living in residential halls affected by the outage on Feb. 27 alerting them of the temporary boilers.

Most buildings on campus were affected by the outage, with only 14 out of 240 not experiencing any issues with water or air heating, according to Fleischman. 

The Village, Juniper-Poplar and Greek Housing were not affected because they have separate systems for water heating.

Plans for the new system were finalized in 2022, and construction coincidentally began at the same time as the previous boilers broke down in February, Fleischman said. 

Related: Hot water system to be replaced

The project’s $9.9 million price tag is being paid off through a contract between the university, Bank of America and the boilers’ manufacturer, Siemens. 

The new system cuts extra expenses through its energy efficiency, according to Nichols.

Energy costs saved by the new system will be used to pay for the project, so there should be no significant impacts to the campus budget, according to Fleischman.

“This project is called an ESCO project,” Fleischman said. “What it does with the new improved boiler system that we’re getting, it’s actually going to save us energy costs.” 

USF Housing will continue to update students on the status of its repairs, according to an email following the outage.

“Because these boilers are brand new, we should have much better redundancy,” Nichols said. “These will replace broken, aging infrastructure and we’re really excited to be able to provide what we hope is more continuity.”

Although new boilers were promised initially during 2022, the installation will only be completed in February 2025 at the earliest, and 2026 at the latest.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly described the current status of hot water in residence halls. The updated version now reflects that residence halls have hot water restored through the temporary boilers.