Broken AC in Murphy Hall displaces classes

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Murphy Hall’s air conditioning unit is going to cost $90,000 and shipment has been postponed two weeks due to Hurricane Irma.

The 18-year-old chiller started running at one-third capacity on August 16 but completely died due to electricity damages a week ago. Since the 250-ton air chiller died Murphy Hall has reached temperatures up to the 90s.

The chiller’s arrival was postponed due to hurricane Irma as Daikin Applied, the production plant for the air conditioning unit, was located in Houston, Texas. Shipment was slowed by two weeks.

Murphy hall’s entire building runs off of one unit. Two of the three compressors failed had “catastrophically failed”. One theory as to why it stopped functioning is because of a large thunderstorm, which caused powerful power surges due to the compressors being electrically burnt out.

Jerry Gentry, director of the physical plant at Western, said Western will be spending 90 thousand on a new unit. 79 thousand for the unit and 15 for the installation. The money for the unit is coming from house bill 19.

“I had a discussion with our vice president of finance who said, ‘Look, it doesn’t make any sense to dump $56,000 into a, basically, 20-year-old chiller, when we can buy a brand new one for $79 [thousand],” Gentry said.

Ana Bausset, assistant professor of Spanish, was one of the several professors who had to move their classes out of Murphy.

“I noticed the students were having a hard time and were not answering questions, and they were dozing off. In all my classes they were, like, sweating. So I went ahead and moved two of my classes — my biggest ones. The small classes, which I have 11 in each, I put them in the Eder library,”  Bausset said.

“If you see in the building, most of the professors have moved away. It’s really hard to work and concentrate, I notice it myself. With that heat, I was just like ‘what did I just say?’ [to my students during lectures]. I needed a cooler environment,” Bausset said.

Some said a professor had fainted during his or her lecture. After calling the psychology, journalism and nursing departments that had classes in Murphy, no one was able to confirm this.

There were 10 portable AC units in Murphy, however, they have been given to classes on the higher floors due to the heat being the highest there.

The theory that Western going down to four days a week caused the HVAC to break down is unlikely.

“No, actually. That helps us because that chiller being the only cooling system for the entire building it pretty much runs 24/7, with the exception of the cold part of winter. Even when it is 55 or 60 outside it still has to minorly cool,” Gentry said.