System of Utility Tunnels

The original master plan of the campus cleverly developed a series of fully-accessible utility tunnels running between and connecting the major buildings on campus.  These tunnels allow for the installation, upgrade and maintenance of utility piping, electrical distribution, and data/communication lines.  The tunnels radiate out from the Central Plant Building. 

The utility tunnels currently connect all of the major academic buildings, as well as the Albin O.  Kuhn Library and Gallery, the Retriever Activities Center and The Commons.  The tunnels do not extend north of the Library into the residential communities or east of the quad to the Theater/Academic Services Building and the stadium complex beyond. 

Natural Gas Distribution

The campus is supplied from Wilkens Avenue by BGE with a 6” HP (high pressure) gas line at Walker Avenue.  Gas is distributed around the north of Hilltop Circle to the Central Plant, the Satellite Plant and various individual buildings that are not connected by the utility tunnels.  

Hot and Chilled Water Systems

The existing hot water generation system located within the Central Plant consists of four High Temperature Hot Water (HTHW) generators with a total capacity of 150,000 MBH.  The firm capacity of the system is 100,000 MBH.  Supply and return piping to all of the buildings that are served by the system run in the utility tunnel. 

In 2001, the University constructed a satellite plant to serve the residential communities not connected by the utility tunnel system.  This plant provides both chilled and hot water for the five residential communities east of Center Road and the Dining Hall.  Two 500HP Low Temperature Hot Water (LTHW) generators provide 180 degree water during the heating season.  A 100HP boiler is utilized for domestic hot water needs during the warmer months and is rated at a capacity of 3,450 MBH. 
The total capacity of the system is 37,950 MBH with a firm capacity of 34,500 MBH. 

The existing chilled water generation capacity of the Central Plant is comprised of five 1,000-ton electric centrifugal chillers and a 10,500 ton-hour chilled water storage tank capable of supplying 1,500 tons of chilled water capacity.  The thermal energy storage system (TES) located adjacent to the Central Plant discharges chilled water, produced during non-peak hours, to reduce daytime peak demand.  The total capacity of the system is 6,500 tons with a firm capacity of 5,500 tons.  The firm capacity is defined as the total installed capacity minus the capacity of the single largest generation subsystem.

The existing chilled water generation capacity of the Satellite Plant is comprised of two 750-ton electric centrifugal chillers.  The total capacity of the system is 1,500 tons with a firm capacity of 750 tons. 

Electricity Distribution

The electric substation, adjacent to the Central Plant, is comprised of two pairs of transformers.  The first pair is dedicated to the buildings located on campus and second pair is dedicated to the Central Plant.  The capacity of the transformers serving the campus is 10,500 kVA (9,450 kW) each.  The total capacity of this system is 21,000 kVA and a corresponding firm capacity of 10,500 kVA.  The capacity for each transformer serving the Central Plant is 7,500 kVA (6,750 kW).  This correlates to a total capacity of 15,000 kVA and a firm capacity of 7,500 kVA. 

Potable Water

Water for both the campus and the research and technology park is accessed independently from a Baltimore City water main below Wilkens Avenue.  The two 12” CIP water lines run along Hilltop Road.  The campus is served by a 12” line running adjacent to the southern half of Hilltop Circle between Walker Avenue and Poplar Street.  While capacity to the campus is adequate, there have been cases where closings of the water main in Wilkens Avenue have affected water availability on campus.   

Data and Telecommunications

UMBC is known for excellent teaching and innovative use of technology to support teaching and learning.  As a major research university it is critical that UMBC students, faculty and staff have access to an extensive array of computing services for research and scholarship, as well as for communication and collaboration.  Systems on campus are planned and maintained by the UMBC Division of Information Technology (DoIT). 

DoIT provides a state-of-the-art campus network with Gigabit network access to all major buildings and research labs, and switched Ethernet connections to every room.  There is wireless network access throughout much of the campus, including The Commons.  In addition, all residential units are provided with dedicated connections for each resident. 

Communications infrastructure spaces are spread throughout the campus, located to allow for the best distribution of the network.  These spaces include the cable TV head end in Academic IV Building, data hubs in the Central Plant, the Physics Building, South Campus, and the Engineering Building, and voice hubs in the Central Plant, Technology Research Center and South Campus.  As the University continues to grow, communication technology and associated infrastructure and spaces will also need to expand.