Campus buildings to close for winter break

By Rob Heselbarth

Every year around Christmastime two things are certain, Santa Claus is coming to town and campus buildings will be closed to save money on utility bills.

James Harder, vice president of Business and Operations, said the closing of campus buildings is an annual procedure at NIU.

The official close of university business is Dec. 22 and the university will re-open on Jan. 6, he said.

Harder said the exact amount of money which will be saved on utility bills is difficult to determine for two reasons.

“The weather is unpredictable so it is not certain how much energy will be used to heat the buildings,” he said. “Also, the amount of activities in and on campus will determine how much heat will have to be pumped into the buildings.”

Harder also said some types of construction material maintain heat better than others.

“A closed building holds heat better than open ones,” he said. “There are older masonry buildings which hold heat like an oven.”

Harder said there are certain buildings which will need more than the allotted amount of heat over the break.

“For instance, the music building has pianos in it which will go out of tune if the temperature is too low,” he said. “There are also some buildings that have animals housed in them, and the temperature in those buildings needs to be higher than the other buildings.”

However, determining how much heat a building needs is not the only problem which needs to be solved.

Since most offices will be closed there will be no one in them to answer the phones, Harder said.

“We’re trying to set up ways to get phone messages relayed to places where information can be received,” he said. “We’re encouraging service desks to have answering machines to take messages or to give re-route directions.”