Cooling off campus



South Dakota State University has permanently installed air conditioning units in dorms on campus. The rooms in Binnewies, Young, Pearson, Matthews, Brown, Hansen and Waneta residence halls all received air conditioners this year. 

In the fall of 2013, SDSU responded to excessive heat and bought air conditions to cool off the dorms. The permanently installed air conditioners were reused from last year’s emergency. Facilities and Services led the installations. 

“We had them [air conditioners] available so we obviously put them in in a quick, emergency response to the excessive heat so while we have them, let’s use them as a permanent installation” said Director of Residential Life, Jeff Hale. 

Hale said that around 1,500 air conditioners were installed on campus this year. Students did not see an increase in costs due to the air conditioners but they have been more comfortable according to sophomore animal science and agriculture education student,  Dakotah Grosz. 

“Last year at the beginning of the school year everybody seemed crabby. Nobody was happy in the dorms.” Grosz said. “This year it’s a lot better because people are more laid back and it’s a lot more comfortable.”

Air-conditioned facilities can have a positive effect on student success. According to The Impact of School Building Condition and Student Achievement by Glen Earthman, “Students learning in better building conditions earn 5-17 percent higher test scores than students in substandard buildings.”

Although being an improvement, the air conditioners need more work. Some air conditioners are not properly sealed, leaving gaps between the air conditioning units and the walls. 

“They said they would come in and weather-tape them and fix them but they didn’t know when.” Grosz said. “In the summer if you have your window open and the gaps are there with the air conditioner on then bugs can get in. I’ve had bugs in my room, it’s not very fun.”

The air conditioners were not installed in previous years because of an expense issue. 

“The idea is that we would finance tying everything into the central system but that’s very cost prohibitive.” Hale said. “We already purchased the units so we’re finishing that out. It would be very expensive to tie to the central air system.”