LJB engineers pride themselves on being problem solvers. No one exemplified that trait more than the late Dr. John Eastman, who served as an LJB environmental engineer for 27 years. This week, the Dayton Art Institute honored John and his problem solving ability by dedicating its new well, now marked as The Eastman Well. The well provided a solution to a critical issue the museum was having with maintaining the optimum temperature for its art collections. Dr. Eastman passed away suddenly on December 28, 2014—before the well was completed.
Keeping a consistent temperature in a museum is critical to protecting art. According to the Chicora Foundation, for every 14 degree rise in temperature the deterioration rate of paper and other organic materials doubles. Two years ago, the facilities team at the Dayton Art Institute was facing a serious problem, as the chiller system used to cool the museum began to malfunction. The team began to wonder if the well that supplied the chiller system had run dry. The team was facing a significant and costly decision of switching from the chiller to air cooled units to keep the museum at the optimum temperature.
“Members of our Facilities Committee recommended that we talk to Dr. John Eastman because he was an expert on water wells and the Dayton aquifer,” explained Mr. David Birch, Facilities Manager for the museum, “His advice to drill a second well was absolutely critical to the museum. We wanted to honor him for helping us with this decision that will support the museum, not just now, but for years to come.”
The museum started drilling the well this past December and completed it in April. The Art Institute reports that the well has been online since its completion and has operated superbly.