UW Madison ~ Charter Street Heating Plant

Madison, WI

Project Description

The Charter Street Heating Plant is one of two campus heating plants serving the University of Wisconsin in the city of Madison. The environmental impacts of coal-generated energy called for its elimination, which spurred the need to rebuild this coal-fired plant. In addition to transitioning the plant from the use of coal to gas, the rebuild has provided updates to all aspects of the plant with highly advanced equipment and controls. For this complex schedule-driven project, the owner, the State of Wisconsin, chose the engineer-procure-construct (EPC) delivery method. This expedited planning, design, and construction, maximized value, and provided the State with a single point of responsibility. 

The scope of this project included removing the coal boilers and adding four new 225,000 lb./hr. natural gas/fuel oil package boilers. The facility buildings required an addition of 70,000 sq. ft. to accommodate the new boilers and balance of plant equipment. The following is a partial list of balance of plant and ancillary equipment included in the project:

  • Water treatment equipment 
  • Feed water system
  • Air compressors
  • Condensate collection systems
  • Upgrade to digital controls for both campus heating/cooling plants
  • Electrical system upgrades and additions
  • New 920,000 gallon fuel oil tank
  • Fire protection for the addition and existing plant
  • A new six cell 50,000 GPM cooling tower
  • Emission controls
  • Piped over 16,000 LF of small bore pipe and over 17,245 LF of large bore pipe 

Phased Construction
The two heating plants serve approximately 330 buildings on campus, so it was without question the plant continued to run – and run reliably – during construction. This required careful phasing of the new work and very close coordination when running new utilities for the existing plant. 

Construction began when the existing fuel oil tanks were removed to make room for the new addition, the Dayton Street building, where the first two boilers would be installed. After the first two boilers were installed and commissioned successfully, demolition occurred so the Dayton Street building could be finished and the second set of boilers installed. Timing of the boiler delivery became as important as the logistics of these large units, as little space existed for staging on this busy project site. 

Demolition work included:

  • Rail spurs
  • Coal handling equipment and bunkers
  • Coordination of removal of four coal boilers 
  • (Two) baghouses, 8- and 12-modules
  • 250 foot tall masonry stack
  • Existing balance of plant equipment

In addition to the remaining two boilers, the second part of the new Dayton Street building housed updated water treatment and feed water systems and a new cooling tower was installed. When the cooling season started, the new tower was commissioned and functional, and two old towers were demolished. 

Commissioning of the entire plant was carefully coordinated with the plant’s operations staff to ensure a smooth running facility prior to turnover. The team continues to be available as an extension of the staff as the project finalizes. 

Learn more about our work in the energy market.



Boldt's Role

General Contractor / Construction Manager

Key Points

  • Boldt’s role was as the EPC Contractor, since the project was complex and schedule-driven.
  • The plant continued to run reliably throughout construction to best serve the 330 campus buildings.