Coe, St. Luke's receive $4.65 million grant for steam plant construction

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
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2009-06-02 10:35:37 - General

Coe President James Phifer (left) and St. Luke's Hospital President & CEO Ted Townsend speak at a news conference held at Coe on June 2. They discussed a new joint steam plant to be constructed by both organizations, and the $4.65 million grant obtained from the federal government to provide funding for the project

Coe College and St. Luke's Hospital have received $4.65 million to construct a shared steam heating plant. The grant was announced by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and the assistance comes from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) funds provided to help recover from last summer's flood disaster. Harkin is a senior member of the Senate panel that funds economic development projects.

Since the flood of June 2008 destroyed the Alliant Energy steam plant, steam has been generated using temporary boilers. St. Luke's and Coe College formed a partnership after the flood to find a permanent, cost-effective, high-efficiency, reliable and environmentally superior solution for hot water and heating needs.

The new joint steam facility will also help ensure both St. Luke's and Coe have an affordable source of energy to keep costs as low as possible. In 2008-2009 on the Alliant temporary boiler system, Coe College paid more than $1 million more for steam than previous years. St. Luke's paid over $1.9 million more compared with pre-flood costs.

The steam plant will be constructed on the northeastern corner of St. Luke's campus directly across Coe Road from Murray Hall. This location will effectively tie in to existing steam lines and serve facilities on both campuses.

This project is a USGBC or "LEED" project, which means it's registered with the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED projects encourage and accelerate global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices. The new plant will be powered by natural gas and will be able to run on diesel fuel as a backup to provide redundancy.

Both St. Luke's and Coe have served the community and the region for more than 125 years with medical services and educational programs, respectively.

In remarks this morning, St. Luke's President & CEO Ted Townsend and Coe College President James Phifer expressed gratitude to Senator Tom Harkin and his staff, the entire Congressional delegation, the Cedar Rapids City Council and officials of the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for their help and support of this grant.

Officials from Coe and St. Luke's are pleased to work together on this joint project. The end result will be a cost-effective solution for essential steam production, ultimately benefiting the constituencies of both organizations for the foreseeable future.

Construction on the new steam plant will begin late this summer and take approximately seven months to complete.