Temperatures in classrooms across campus were estimated to have topped 80 degrees during a two-day air conditioning outage that was solved Thursday.
“It reminded me of 1922 in the South,” said Rocky Giarratano, a senior liberal arts major, when asked how he was affected by the outage. “Hot!”
This week’s cooling outage was the biggest the university has had in five years, said Steve Hultin, assistant director of Facilities Management.
“One of the classrooms did not receive any air, creating a very hot, stale environment for students and the instructor,” said Rosalie Samaniego, assistant to the dean of liberal arts and Clark Building proctor.
The outage was caused by a chipboard failure in the chiller control system late Monday afternoon. The cooling utility cools 25 buildings across campus from the cooling plant located on campus. One chiller provides 30 percent of the cooling, Hultin said.
A new chipboard was ordered and installed by noon on Thursday.
“I figured it was because I was in a room with a lot of people and computers, but it was still hot in rooms with less people and no computers,” said Daniel Sampsel, a senior criminal justice major. “It sucks but you just have to deal with it.”
The cooled air is brought through underground pipes across the east side of campus, keeping temperatures constant at 74 to 78 degrees.
Using an automated system, the chiller notifies operators in the heating plant whenever an alarm indicates a problem within the cooling plant. Operators then diagnose the problem manually with the help of tools such as computers.
The buildings affected by the outage included Administrative Annex/Johnson Hall/Student Services (considered to be one building), Ammons Hall, Gibbons Building, Laurel Hall, Occupational Therapy Building, Statistics Building, Clark Building B and C wings, Gifford Hall, the Transit Center, Rockwell Hall North, Wagar Building and Weber Building.
Staff writer Anne Farrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.