By: Abigail Frye
Temperatures feel a little more like fall now but during the record-breaking heat that ushered in October some University of Findlay students were hot under the collar about the air-conditioning failure in the Davis Street Building, 300 Davis Street.
“The geothermal unit broke, so it’s pumping in all the hot air,” said Riley Shultz, a junior business management and finance major and a student worker for the Physical Plant at UF.
The geothermal heating and cooling unit, otherwise known as a geothermal heat pump, is based in the earth and transfers heat to or from the ground to keep the building warm or cool.
“We are just waiting for the right part to come in so the unit can be fixed,” said Shultz. “It won’t be fixed until early this week.”
Orion Jones, the Physical Plant Director at UF, said the problem was reported to him on Sept. 26. He said the pumps that push cold water through the Geothermal system in the Davis Street West building had failed.
“It is a complicated fix,” said Jones in an email interview. “We cannot just go to Lowes and buy a pump off the shelf. We are having the pumps rebuilt and should have them back this week.”
Jones said they hope to pull in enough outside air when it is cool in the morning to create a comfortable working and learning environment until the system is back up.
“It just so happened that we had one of the hottest weeks on record for September/October during this time, so it magnified the situation even more,” said Jones.
According to a 2012 news release from UF the University bought the original 60,000-square-foot Davis Street Building from Owens Community College in 2006. It was then renovated to accommodate the College of Pharmacy, the College of Education, and the biology program.
An addition to the Davis Street Building was added in 2012 to make room for an increase in students in the sciences, health professions, and pharmacy programs. The addition included four classrooms, 19 laboratories and a 112-seat lecture hall according to a 2014 release. Other upgrades made to the Davis Street Building included computerized light sensors, laboratory fume hoods that run only when necessary, air handling system that provides ten percent fresh air at all times, and refillable water bottle stations to save on disposable bottles.
The geothermal heating and cooling system was one of the energy-saving features included in the new addition. The system was designed and installed by Greensleeves, of Findlay. In 2014, the University of Findlay’s geothermal supplier won a global award for its Davis Street Addition system. Even machines as high tech as the ones in Davis can fail for no reason at all.
“Any system can fail at any time,” said Jones. “Machines can be very fickle.”
With the rise in temperature in Findlay at the end of September, the lack of air-conditioning caused quite the discomfort for students with classes in the building.
“[The classroom] was really hot. My face was sweating 15 minutes into my lab,” said Meg Harper, a junior pre-vet major. “I felt like I was unable to focus in class because I was focusing on how hot I was as well as the heat making me feel tired.”
Students struggled to pay attention in their studies through the heat, and some professors had to dismiss class early to combat the discomfort.
“I would definitely not want to have class in the heat again. I left feeling drained and our professor was nice enough to only let us stay 45 minutes out of our three-hour class,” said Harper.
Other students faced similar problems with the hot classrooms making them uncomfortable in the Davis building.
“I had a class in there twice last week and it was just miserable. I wore sweaters both days because it’s usually freezing in our classroom,” said Addison Henry, a senior AYA Integrated Mathematics/Pure Mathematics major.