WKU turning down the heat

Katherine Wade

Students suffering in hot classrooms and dorms can prepare to chill out as the university transitions from the heating to cooling season.

WKU has started turning off steam for building heating systems in preparation for starting chillers, according to an email sent Wednesday to faculty and staff from Charlie Jones, director of Facilities Management. He said air conditioners will begin turning on this week.

“As always this activity is determined by the actual weather conditions,” Jones said in the email. “And the current forecast is for continued warm weather.”

Jones said WKU will activate cooling in buildings as it is requested by building coordinators. He said dorms have a higher priority for air conditioning than academic buildings because students live in them.

Brian Kuster, director of Housing and Residence Life, said the cooling process in the dorms depends on the specific building.

Bates-Runner, McLean, Southwest, Northeast, Zacharias and Meredith halls have air conditioning year-round, Kuster said. In those dorms, residents can adjust the temperature in their individual rooms.

The remaining dorms are connected to the central heat plant.

Kuster said students occasionally come to HRL complaining about the heat, but once they are told how the system works, they understand.

Jones said in the email that this year, thermostats in all campus buildings will be set to maintain a temperature of 74-76 degrees.

Scott Lasley, an associate professor of political science, said it always gets warm in the buildings around this time of the year, before the university has begun air conditioning.

“The last couple days have been particularly warm,” he said.

Lasley said he thought the lack of air conditioning in Grise Hall, where he primarily teaches, affects the students more than it affects him.

“I think the heat makes it more difficult for students to concentrate,” he said. “When you’re uncomfortable, it’s just another distraction.”