Arts & Sciences receives new climate control system
GC will soon complete a $500,000 replacement of the heating and air conditioning systems in Arts and Sciences, hopefully bringing an end to the frustrating problem of inconsistent climate control in one of the campus’s most-utilized spaces.
The project is nearing completion with the final repairs to be completed by the end of May.
“Essentially, the building is more than 20 years old,” said Ken Procter, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
“And my understanding is that the system is worn out and antiquated, and they cannot get parts, so they are having to kind of re-tool the whole thing, and we just have to be patient.”
Construction on A&S was started in 1995 and completed in 1996 at a cost of $8.5 million. The installment of furniture, fixtures, audio and video equipment as well as other design costs such as testing, design fees and program management, elevated the total cost to $11 million.
Shea Groebner, assistant director of Operations and Maintenance for Facilities, said the project took a semester to complete because the work had to be done in phases during a times of year when the temperature is moderate.
“We would have loved to have done it in one fell swoop,” Groebner said. “But it’s either shut the building down or do it in phases, and we’ve tried to do it in the most advantageous times of the year. Would you rather have no air conditioning in the summer or have it 65 degrees in the winter?”
Groebner advises professors and students not to open the windows because doing so triggers important climate sensors that only exacerbate the problem.
Because of the temperature swings, some GC students have referred to the building as Arctic and Sahara. Some GC professors have experienced class disruptions for several semesters in a row.
“We’ve had class times where the temperature of the class was uncomfortable and have limited the class time to 15 minutes instead of 50, and that has happened this semester and has happened every semester for the last two years,” said Arash Bodaghee, an assistant professor of physics at GC.
Doug Oetter, a geography professor, has tracked the wild swings in temperature.
“There was a three-week period where the temperature in the room was so chaotic and far from ordinary,” Oetter said. “It completely disrupted our class, and we had to move around to find a class that was tolerable. One day, we walked into the class, and it was 92 degrees, and I measured with two thermometers, but I came back another day, and it was 59 degrees.”
Senior Sarah Beller, a biology major, studies German in A&S 348 and complained that the room is often hot, and that it is uncomfortable for students.
“As soon as everybody gets in, we all get in early, and everybody starts commenting and starts taking their sweaters off,” Beller said.
Students and professors working in A&S in fall 2018 will be the judges of the $500,000 project’s success.