Heating returns to residence halls in time for chilly weather

By Erin Kolb

Until last week, the heat in the residence halls were not turned on, leaving some students feeling cold.

“I had to sleep in three layers of clothes for awhile,” said freshman humanities major Michelle Meyer.

Michael Stang, executive director of Housing and Dining, said the heat has been turned on in every residence hall. The heat in each building cannot be turned on and off based on daily temperatures with the way they are set up, he said.

“It takes a week or two to complete the process to change the system from A/C to heat,” Stang said.

Stang said the air conditioning process takes a while because the heat and the air conditioning share the same pipes from the basement to each floor of each building. Once the air conditioning is turned off, it is not available again until the spring, he said.

To determine when the heat will be turned on, Stang said building engineers review the weather forecast weekly. Once the temperature is consistently cool for about two weeks, the heat is turned on.

Stang said natural gas is cheaper than it has been in years, so cost is not an issue with the heating of the buildings.

Some parts of the residence halls are sometimes cooler than other parts, he said. Each residence hall has its own unique characteristics, and the wind is also a factor for the temperatures of the halls, he said.

“In the winter, the prevailing winds are from the northwest,” Stang said. “If it’s very windy and cold outside, the west side of the buildings can be a little cooler than the east side of a residence hall.”

Sophomore marketing major Trevor Korn said he has noticed uneven temperatures in the residence halls.

“Before they turned the heating on, it was sometimes really cold and other times really hot in my room,” Korn said. “Now, it’s a comfortable warm temperature and it’s a lot better.”