Residence halls work out first week kinks

While living on campus during the first week of classes, students run into various problems with services in their residence halls.

With the high temperatures in Brookings, residence halls that do not have air conditioning became dangerously hot and were hazardous to students’ health.

Considering the conditions, students were given air conditioning units to cool down the residence halls.

“At first we only had air conditioning units in every other room and those people would shut their doors, not all but some did and it really didn’t help,” said Pierson Hall resident Chris Wall. “It took about five days until we got it, [the air conditioner], but under the circumstances, the did get it in as soon as they could.”

Every room in the residence halls that does not have air conditioning, now have a temporary air conditioning unit in place. All the air conditioners were purchased and are university property. 

“We are in the process of making the decision [of storing the air conditioners] so there is a lot of players involved in that,” said Director of Housing and Residential Life Jeff Hale. “We want return in our investment so the options are to remove them and store them until the next heat wave… or find a way to keep them installed.”

The air conditioners were purchased from various locations, such as Fargo, N.D., Sioux Falls, Watertown, Kansas City M.O. and Omaha Neb. The money to purchase the units came from university housing funds and its reserve funds.

Calculations on the actual cost of purchasing the units is estimated to go on for a few weeks.

“We are still trying to tabulate the cost, but we are still waiting on the whole process,” Hale said.

There has been discussion of the residence halls without air conditioning to be retrofitted to provide students with air conditioning. 

“My understanding is that the conversation is several years old… when it first came up, it was cost prohibited,” Hale said. 

Not only has air conditioning been an issue to students living in the residence halls, but there have been complaints of the lack of hot water as well. 

“Students have been experiencing hot water problems in some of the newer buildings,” Hale said.

It has been reported that in Caldwell, Ben Reifel and Schultz Halls there is a lack of hot water for students’ use.

“Half of the showers in our bathroom do not have hot water, but the other half does,” said Freshman Ben Reifel Hall resident Allison Heine.

“The [new] buildings are under warranty so we have to go under the contractor and facilities and services to fix them,” Hale said. “Any of those issues we address immediately because we want the students to be comfortable.”

With all residential life and facilities and services staff directed to install air conditioning units this past week, other service problems were put on the back burner until all of the units were installed.