By JOE POLD
School officials have recorded numerous issues about the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system installed in the new Mason and Randolph residence halls, where room temperatures have been reported to reach up to 78 degrees.
According to Dan Quann, director of maintenance, the problem stems from the way the system controls itself. Earlier in the year, the air conditioning was not turned on when needed. In an email to students from Kari Gent, building coordinator for Mason and Randolph, the air conditioning is controlled by an external temperature gauge.
The system automatically shuts off when the temperature reaches a certain point outside. According to the email, “The building does not cool down as quickly as the outside does, which is why when the AC turns off the temperature in your rooms begins to go up.”
According to Gent, an attempt was made to fix the issue by lowering the temperature at which the air conditioning shuts off so that it runs for longer into the night.
More recently, the HVAC system has been continuously venting hot air into the dorms, as there is no off control on the students’ consoles.
Katherine Huffman, a junior mathematics major, says she has to change clothes to deal with the stuffy conditions when she gets back to her room.
“The constant blasting of heat is very loud I have to turn my T.V. up and step out of my room to make a phone call,” said Huffman.
The issues do not bother all residents, however. Steven Fernando, a freshman resident of Randolph, said, “It doesn’t really bother me. Although it’s slightly inconvenient, it’s not the end of the world.”
Gent also says there have been room-by-room concerns, such as vents not opening and closing properly. Gent says that these types of issues are not uncommon in a new building, as the necessary tweaks and adjustments are made to the HVAC system. The system is still under warranty.
Quann identified the issue as a priority for facilities services, saying that the staff is well aware of the problems and work to resolve them when they occur.
“If a student is uncomfortable, it’s important,” said Quann.