Beginning in the late summer, many students noticed that it was uncomfortably hot in several university buildings, including Madonna Hall, Haggar University Center and Braniff.
The problems were caused by “older cooling units that need to be replaced and have been used beyond their normal life expectancy, [and a] software management system that is outdated and in need of being upgraded,” said Dr. John Plotts, the executive vice president.
Plotts noted that while the problems were happening around the same time, the problems in Madonna Hall were unrelated to the much bigger issues in Braniff and Haggar.
“Braniff and Haggar have the oldest A/C equipment and therefore the most impacted. We did have an A/C motor fail in Madonna at the start of school but that motor has been repaired,” Plotts said.
Michael Pecha, sophomore Resident Assistant in Madonna Hall spoke to broader infrastructural decay within his dormitory. He said the hall had two air conditioning malfunctions. In the most recent one, the university had to reimburse students who chose to live off campus.
“I’ve seen a lot of problems around Madonna Hall,” said Pecha. “These A/C failures lasted two to three days each.”
Air conditioning problems are not new around campus. In the fall of 2019, Theresa Hall lost air conditioning. The problem in that case was probably also mechanical, according to Dr. Plotts.
In response to the air conditioning issues, the administration is taking several reactionary moves to fix the older buildings’ infrastructure.
“We are going to replace the chiller unit in Braniff this academic year. We are researching more effective technology to manage airflow and temperature,” said Plotts.
Moving forward, the administration is also taking preemptive steps to prevent this from happening in the future.
“With our new facilities management team we are implementing a more robust system of preventative maintenance to ensure greater HVAC reliability,” said Plotts.
The administration has its work cut out to modernize campus infrastructure, but with the plan in place, they are hopeful that UD is up to the challenge.