Campus air conditioning on blink

Thursday, April 18, 2002

The sound of box fans whirring and professors talking over them could be heard Wednesday throughout the hallways of Grauel and Pacific halls on the campus of Southeast Missouri State University.

Al Stoverink, facilities management director, said he rounded up about 50 fans on Wednesday to split between the two buildings after several complaints about the heat were reported to his office Tuesday afternoon.

The air conditioning in Grauel hasn't been working for several months because of work being done on the new residence hall on Henderson Street, but the air conditioning in Pacific just went out this week when the chiller system serving that building broke. The central complex area of Dearmont Hall is also without air conditioning.

Stoverink said it's unusual to have two main buildings, Grauel and Pacific, without air conditioning at the same time, but it's something the university is working quickly to fix.

He said the air conditioning should be back on at Pacific this afternoon.

Hard to concentrate

That's good news for students who say it's horrible to try to learn in a hot environment.

"It's ridiculous," said student Mike Frazee who takes classes in Grauel. "It's hard to concentrate when you're so sweaty you stick to your chair. All you can do is just sit there and sweat."

Stoverink said maintenance crews are upgrading the steam lines in the utility tunnels to serve the new residence hall.

The chiller for the south side of campus is in Kent Library and serves several buildings including the University Center, Grauel, Dearmont, Myers and eventually the new residence hall.

The university had to shut off the valve and drain the pipe that sends chill water to Dearmont and Grauel to connect the pipes to the new residence hall. All of the other buildings were unaffected.

"We can blow fresh air into the buildings, but we can't condition that air without the chill water," Stoverink said about Dearmont, Grauel and Pacific. "In classrooms where we have a lot of bodies and in computer labs where we have computers generating heat when the temperatures approach 80 degrees it gets to be pretty uncomfortable."

Stoverink said no one expected temperatures to be as warm as they have been this week, so the university thought it could get the work done before it got really warm outside.

He hopes the air conditioning will be back on in Grauel and Dearmont by early next week at the latest.

Of sterner stuff

In the meantime students and professors have to turn on the fans and open the windows during class. Mike Hogan, an English professor who teaches in Grauel, said it's really not that big of a deal.

"It's not unbearably hot," he said. "We should be made of stern stuff. We should be able to tolerate this. They've provided fans for us and they'll get the problem taken care of."

Hogan laughed at the fact some students are acting like it's too hot to be in class.

"Think about the temperatures people are willing to put up with at the beach," he said. "It's all relative. We're so used to air conditioning. We have expectations and when they are not met we feel we are not being properly taken care of."

hkronmueller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

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