No air conditioning in Verder and Dunbar leaves residents steaming mad

A fan sits on the floor of a hall in Dunbar Hall at Kent State Kent, Ohio Tuesday, Sep. 4, 2018.

Chris Ramos

 Temperatures since the semester started have reached an average high of about 84 degrees, surpassing Kent’s historical average for the same period of time of about 76 degrees.

Verder Hall and Dunbar Hall are the only residential halls of the 25 on campus that have no air conditioning.

“Fans don’t help,” said Amanda Frost, a freshman biology major living in Dunbar Hall. “Leaving the window open makes the humidity worse. At night, it’s bearable.”

“I personally don’t mind the heat when I sleep,” said Deija La Fontaine, a freshman zoology major also living in Dunbar Hall. “When I’m studying, I either go to the air-conditioned lounge or the library.”

“I know people who have to vacate Verder to get their work done,” said Skylar Burkett, a freshman studio art major living in Verder Hall. “The humidity is bad for their health.”

Dunbar and Verder haven’t always been the only residential halls without air conditioning. Through recent renovations, Fletcher and Manchester Halls received cooling in 2014, Prentice Hall in 2015 and Lake and Olson Halls in 2017.

Jill Jenkins, the executive director of Residential Services, explained that adding air conditioning is no simple task. Residential hall age, funding and overall planning are discussed extensively before construction is considered.

“(Dunbar and Verder) don’t have air conditioning because we haven’t tackled that as part of our Master Plan yet,” Jenkins said. “We are going to go to the Board of Trustees in December with the hopes they will approve our proposal to add air conditioning to Dunbar next summer.”

If the proposal is approved, Dunbar Hall may see air conditioning in summer of 2019. Verder Hall, however, has been removed from the Master Plan with the possibility of replacing it with a new building, Jenkins said. The cost to put air conditioning in Verder Hall would total around $7 million, and the university does not want to invest that kind of money into Verder at this time.

Until additional plans are established, students living in Verder and Dunbar have devised methods to keep cool.

“One of my best friends lives in Centennial Court F, so I spend a lot of time there during the day,” Frost said.

“I know people who have slept in the lounge,” La Fontaine said. “I saw somebody bring a hammock.

“I’ve positioned fans as close to the window as possible, so when we get those colder days, it draws in the colder air,” Burkett said.  

Residential hall directors in both Verder and Dunbar have encouraged resident assistant to help their residents stay cool such as offering residents free ice cream. Students from both halls are encouraged to take advantage of the air-conditioned first floor and lounge room located in each hall.

Chris Ramos is a general assignment reporter. Contact him at [email protected].