Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) -- Site Utility Steam Distribution Pit 59/10- AG Bulletin Replacement
University of Wisconsin – Madison
DFD Project #19G2D

The State of Wisconsin Department of Administration/Department of Facilities Development (DOA/DFD) has retained Ayres Associates on behalf of The University of Wisconsin – Madison (UWMadison) Facilities Planning, and Management (FPM) to prepare an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the proposed improvement of the steam pit 59/10 area thermal utilities at UW-Madison along the Hiram Smith Building, Hiram Smith Annex Building, Agricultural Hall, the Microbial Sciences building, and the Agricultural Bulletin Building from Observatory Drive to Linden Drive in Madison, Wisconsin.

The EIA will be prepared in accordance with the Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act (WEPA), Wisconsin Statutes 1.11, and UWSA guidelines (Board of Regents’ Resolution 2508, November 6, 1981). An initial requirement of the EIA is the scoping process. The intent of the scoping process is to identify at an early stage potential beneficial or adverse impacts of the project on the physical, biological, social, and economic environments. Because you or your agency or group may have an interest in the project, we are inviting you to participate in the scoping process.

Project Background

This project provides investigation and research, pre-design, and design services to replace an arched brick steam tunnel that includes high pressure steam (HPS), low pressure steam (LPS), pumped condensate return (PCR), and compressed air (CA) utilities between steam pit 59/10 and the Agricultural Bulletin Building, Soils Hall, and King Hall. The steam pits and underground utilities will be evaluated to identify deficiencies, develop design solution alternatives, and recommend appropriate corrective measures.

Proposed Project Action

Project work proposes replacing approximately 600 LF of High-Pressure Steam, Low-Pressure Steam, PCR, and Compressed Air piping from steam pit 59/10 on Linden Drive to the Agricultural Bulletin Building. Portions of the arched brick tunnel will be abandoned between Hiram Smith and Hiram Smith Annex and relocated as a new utility tunnel east of Hiram Smith Annex. The utility tunnel to the Agricultural Bulletin Building will be replaced with a concrete tunnel and 10-inch HPS, 10-inch LPS, 6- inch PCR and 3-inch CA piping. The arched brick tunnel from the Agricultural Bulletin Building to Soils Hall and King Hall will also be replaced with steam box conduits from the new tunnel. All areas disturbed by the project will be fully restored, including roadways, curb and gutters, pedestrian walkways, terraces, landscape plantings, retaining walls, stairs, and site structures. Temporary steam, condensate and compressed air will be required to serve connected loads while the box conduit is being constructed. Project work also includes traffic controls phasing drawings and asbestos abatement of piping insulation as required.

This section of arched brick steam tunnel was installed just after 1910 when the Agricultural Bulletin Building heating plan was replaced by the heating plant previously located in the Service Building Annex on University Avenue. Groundwater is damaging the arched brick structure and is difficult to control. Attempts in other locations to waterproof this type of structure have not been successful and it is difficult to excavate an arched structure without the possibility of caving in the tunnel.

Pedestrian and bike traffic will require various detours and rerouting at various times throughout the project. Directional boring will be used on Observatory Drive so impact will not be impacted, however traffic will be impacted on Linden Drive and service roads and parking at to Hiram Smith Hall, Hiram Smith Annex, Agricultural Hall, King Hall, the Soils Building, the Agricultural Bulletin Building, and the Microbial Sciences Building.

Note that the existing landscape, trees, and shrub plantings will be disturbed during construction as will pedestrian pathways and pedestrian traffic, parking, and other paved surfaces. Upon completion of the utility systems, all areas disturbed by the project will be fully restored or rebuilt, including roadways, gutters, terrace areas, street trees, sidewalks, landscaping features, and site structures. Note that the project is near and, in some cases adjacent to National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) listed facilities and landscapes but impacts to them or other archeological features are not expected. Crack monitoring may be employed on NRHP facilities to assure they are not damaged during construction.

The project budget is estimated at $6,582,000 funded using $4,542,000 from General Fund Supported Borrowing and $2,040,000 from Program Revenue Supported Borrowing (PRSB).

Below is a summary of the targeted project schedule:

A/E Selection:September 2020
Design Concept Report Submittal:May 2021
Design Report Submittal:June 2021
BOR/SBC Authority to Construct:August 2021
Bid Date:December 2021
Begin Construction:April 2022
Substantial Completion:November 2022
Occupancy:June 2023

A project location map and aerial photo of the project site are provided as Attachments 1 and 2, respectively.

EIA Schedule

The Draft EIA is being made available on November 19, 2021, for a 15-day public review period. A public legal notice is being posted in the Wisconsin State Journal on November 18, 2021 and the Daily 2 Cardinals newsletter on November 22, 2021, to present the draft findings of the EIA and to request public input prior to finalizing the EIA. Copies of this Draft EIA will be available at UW-Madison’s Helen C. White Library and Madison Public (Central Branch) Library, and online at:


Appropriate revisions will be incorporated into a Final EIA document based on comments received during responses to this letter or noted during the 15-day comment period.

Comments on the Draft EIA report are to be made no later than 6:00 p.m., December 4, 2021, for consideration and incorporation into the Final EIA document. The campus and DFD stakeholder team is not planning to hold a public meeting, but if controversial elements arise out of this public review process, one may be held at an undetermined date.

Comments can be submitted in writing at the address below:

Haley Jahnel
Ayres Associates
5201 E. Terrace Drive, Suite 200
Madison, WI 53718

Click Here to View:
Draft EIA (53,113 Kb, PDF)
Scoping Letter (108 Kb, PDF)
Figure 1 - Location Map (355 Kb, PDF)
Figure 2 - Aerial Map (427 Kb, PDF)
Comment Form (157 Kb, PDF)

If no comments are received from you or your group, we will assume that there are no project issues that negatively impact you, or that you would like to comment on.