Sweating it out: Brown Hall evacuated as campus rushes to combat heat

Update: 900 air conditioning units have been placed throughout non air-conditioned residence halls across campus. 150 units will be placed in the hallways of the residence halls throughout campus.

All insulation plans for residence halls have been completed. 

 

Students residing in Brown Hall were evacuated on the evening of Aug. 27 due to strenuous heat conditions within the residence hall. 

Residents were evacuated to other places on campus and the Days Inn Hotel in Brookings. Shuttles are being run during class times on Aug. 28 to get students to their classes. Residents are being given information as it becomes available. This information can be found on the SDSU public website.

According to Erica Thompson Assistant Director of Housing and Residential Life Staff and Community Development on Aug. 26 Student Affairs staff was determining the ambient temperatures including humidity in the residence halls. Based on the numbers the temperatures were in safe ranges but uncomfortably warm.

During the day on Aug. 27 it was determined that temperatures in Brown Hall, especially on the upper floors, were reaching unsafe levels. Students have been relocated until at least 12 p.m. on Aug. 28, at which time a decision will be made that will determine when students are able to return to their residence hall based on safe heat levels.

During the first week of classes, students everywhere were trying to beat the heat when walking to class, sitting in class and even in their residence halls. On the evening of Aug. 26, students living in residence halls without air conditioning were advised by staff to make different sleeping arrangements to avoid the extremely warm temperatures in residence halls. As the hot weather continued on through the week, living conditions became worse causing Brown Hall residents to be relocated.

“I’ve had four hours of sleep since Friday due to the heat,” said sophomore Brown Hall resident Aaron Mcinturff. 

Mcinturff received a printed paper with information stating that he would be relocated to the Days Inn, including procedures on getting there and getting back to class, and he was told that there would be four residents to a room.

“We were coming from the Wellness Center and one of the Office Assistants told us,” said freshman Karim Abdelazim.

Although Brown Hall has been greatly affected by the heat, there are several other residence halls on campus that are suffering as well.

“Residence Life held a meeting for all of us CA’s to make sure that our residents are well and taken care of,” said Binnewies Senior Community Assistant Josh Jasper.

Special provisions have been made by the university to try and control the temperatures and heat indexes in the residence halls. 

“We’re in the process of getting in 300 to 500 air conditioning units in effort to cool the buildings,” said Director of University Marketing Michael Lockrem.

On Tuesday, 150 units were installed into Mathews, Pierson and Binnewies Halls. 

“We [residence life] didn’t know about any air conditioners coming in until the afternoon,” Jasper said.

When the overheated residence halls will receive air conditioners is determined by when the units on order will arrive on campus. Workers went as fair as Omaha, Neb. to pick up air conditioning units for the buildings. The units that are placed in the residence halls are temporary. 

On Aug. 28 shipments of air conditioners are expected in and will be placed in Young Hall. Later in the day, a shipment from Kansas City and will be installed in Brown Hall, according to Thompson.

Campus facilities are working with the university to try to accommodate students. Students are allowed to sleep in The Union, which housed approximately 20 students Monday evening. The Union and Larson Commons hours have been changed, being open 24 hours a day to help accommodate students. The Wellness Center and Briggs Library are open until midnight. A movie night was also held in The Union Tuesday evening to try and distract students from the scorching temperatures. Water was available at various locations as well.

Mattresses were delivered to Ben Reifel, Hyde and Honors Halls and placed in the community rooms and basements for students in residence halls without air conditioning to sleep on.

Although South Dakota has notoriously hot summers, the temperatures have not been this extreme leading into the school year for several years.

“We have not experienced anything like this in at least 25 years,” Lockrem said. “This is uncommon, it certainly is a unique set of circumstances. Students have been very understanding.”

Students who experience any heat-related symptoms are to seek assistance from Residential Life staff. Students should remember to drink plenty of water.