By Adam Baker/News editor
Although campus is cooling off again, last week temperatures reached above-normal highs for the season – causing many residence halls to become uncomfortable.Clay Hall resident Atiya Ross said she has tried using her fan, but it does not help.
“I’ve got a fan, but it’s just blowing around the hot air, it’s not doing a whole lot,” said Ross, a communication disorders major from Dayton, Ohio.
She said her room got so hot last week she simply tried staying out as much as possible.
“It’s hotter in here than it is outside,” she said.
Ross, a junior, explained the heat is a problem every year. She said the university should turn the air conditioning on earlier to avoid the uncomfortable conditions for residents.
James Street, director of Facilities Services, said the choice to switch from heat to air conditioning on campus is based on both technological services and past experience.
“We make the decision on when the heat plant is shut down for the season, and the chillers are started based on weather and climate data combined with our experience to try to minimize the discomfort of our customers,” he said.
Street explained while recently it has been rather warm, forecasts predict future nighttime temperatures near 30 degrees and daytime highs near 50 degrees.
“Both conditions require heat,” he said. “Our historical experience suggests that the transfer of heating to cooling before April 15 is too early because we will invariably experience a stretch of fairly cold weather until that time.”
Street noted once the transition from heat to air conditioning is made, the university cannot go back to heat.
“It’s very important to not jump the gun on starting the cooling season,” he said.
Street said Facilities Services typically starts looking at forecasts and begin planning the heat plant shutdown around April 15.
This year he said they considered shutting the heat down last week, but “based on historical experience” decided not to.
Street explained the next few days could be “very uncomfortable” without heat.
“We’ll be looking at the long range trends again on Monday, and in between, (then) try to make an informed decision,” he said. “The only thing that’s absolute in this process is that regardless of when we shut the plant down there will be a cold snap and we’ll get complaints about how cold folks are.”
Scott Roberts, a sophomore computer science major from Manchester, said despite the cooler temperatures this week, as of Monday night, his Commonwealth Hall room was “still an inferno.”
“Heat still comes from the heaters even when they’re off,” he said. “I open my window and have a fan in it, which isn’t very safe, but it’s so hot.”
Mark Corman, a freshman psychology major from Nicholasville, said he is ready for the air conditioning to come on now.
“They could turn on the air anytime,” he said. “It’s been terrible … extremely hot.”
Amanda Farley, a freshman elementary education major from Franklin, Ohio, said she has been leaving the windows open as much as possible to stay cool.
“I was out of town this weekend, and when I got back it was very warm,” she said.
Farley, who lives in Telford Hall, suggests the university be more lenient with the temperature controls in rooms because “they’re not very effective.”
Reach Adam at