Residence Services making improvements, adding AC and upgrading heat in many halls

Ryan Lewis

Kent State Residence Services is improving the air conditioning and heating in many residence halls across campus in a couple of different ways.

John White, associate director for Residence Services, said the university is planning on adding air conditioning to a few dorms while also improving air conditioning and heating systems in place in other residence halls.

White said the focus is on adding air conditioning to all of Eastway — the renovations to Allyn Hall in particular — with renovations to other dormitories coming in the future. Some residence halls will remain without air conditioning.

“We are pushing to add air conditioning to several dorms, including Eastway and the experience halls, and that’s progressing along pretty good right now, but we won’t add AC to every hall,” White said. “We do want to keep some non-AC buildings because of a cost issue for students, to keep that an option.”

White said the university is also aiming to upgrade the air conditioning and heating systems already in place.

Currently, residence halls are operating with a two-pipe system that White said simply takes too long to adapt to changes in the weather patterns.

With a two-pipe system, the residence hall must be running either just air conditioning or just heat. To switch from one to the other, cool or warm air, the building has to first be drained before any new air in the opposite is introduced.

The process takes one to two days, which isn’t nearly fast enough for White, who said he has to look at the seven-day forecast — not just the current day’s high and low — to determine which setting should be on during the fall and spring months as temperatures dip and rise.

“When you have fluctuations in outside temperature where it’s 60 degrees one day and 30 the next, it’s hard to keep up with the temperatures outside,” White said. “So I have to look at long-range forecasts to know if I should switch to heat or not. I never switch it fast enough for some people, because it takes a day or two to get up and running, and some want it colder, some hotter.”

Residence Services Director Betsy Joseph said the reality of the situation is that a four-pipe system gives students valuable flexibility to their own preference in temperature.

“We wanted a system more conducive to the students’ needs,” Joseph said. “Sometimes depending on where you are or what side of the building you’re on, that can dictate whether you want hot or cold on.”

Tri-Towers, Twin Towers, Korb Hall and then Wright and Koonce halls will be operating under a four-pipe system, similar to what’s in place in Centennial Court, Stopher and Johnson halls, that allows both hot and cold air to be available to residents.

“The four-pipe system switches along with the temperature outside automatically,” White said. “It’s a big plus to have hot and cold water running all the time.”

Contact Ryan Lewis at [email protected].