Sweltering summer heat can cause students and faculty some
discomfort outdoors, but if it gets hot enough it can affect some
campus buildings inside as well.
CSU has a district cooling plant that distributes 3,500 tons of
cooling to most campus buildings. Occasionally, extreme outside
temperatures and a high level of humidity in the air can “max out”
the system, meaning one or more buildings have to be taken off.
“It’s only a couple of weeks out of the year at most that we’re
maxed out,” said John Morris, manager of facilities operations for
Facilities Management has a hierarchy for which buildings get
shut off first. The first building to be shut off is the Lory
Student Center – which also has its own chiller system – followed
by classroom and administrative buildings and then research-based
Facilities Management strives to maintain 78 degrees Fahrenheit
in campus buildings between the months of May and September, which
is usually possible unless there are extreme temperature swings,
“People can handle those swings better than some of the animals
and research projects,” he said. “You can easily change the
temperature 5 degrees and ruin a $5 million project.”
Journalism graduate student Lindsay Lysengen has found her own
way to deal with the fluctuations in temperature.
“I treat coming to campus like an outdoor situation and dress in
layers,” Lysengen said.
There are several campus buildings that use their own chillers
to keep temperatures low. A few buildings, including the Shepardson
Building and the Music Building, have no cooling system at all.
Joan Cusack, the accounting technician for the Department of
Music, Theatre and Dance, said working in the Music Building
without air conditioning can be frustrating.
“It is extremely hard to work with no air circulation, with
noise of fans going on,” Cusack said. “We have had people faint in
the past because of the heat.”
Morris said Facilities Management will work on getting cooling
into some of these buildings as funding becomes available.
“We’ve been slowly expanding the system, getting cooling into
buildings that never had it,” he said.
Cusack said any type of system, even just one to allow
ventilation throughout the building, would be helpful.
The district cooling plant is more effective than individual
building chillers, which are in turn more effective than office air
conditioning units, Morris said.
One of the more difficult aspects of cooling the campus is
during the months when there are temperature shifts, such as the
warm days and cool nights in April, he said. A lot of campus
buildings can only have either the cooling system or the heating
“These transition seasons are really tough trying to meet the
occupant demands for internal space temperatures,” Cusack said.
Morris said the Facilities Management is open to suggestions for
cooling the campus, and people can call 491-0077 if they have a
problem with building temperatures.
“We take their needs into consideration and do the best we can
with the resources (the university) give us,” he said.