Since school started, the Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) building has gone without air conditioning (AC). It has been four weeks and on Tuesday Sept. 10, it had been 21 days since the building had AC.
Temperatures in the building have ranged from high 70s to the 90s in the four weeks since school was back in session. Professors have kept doors open and fans on in their offices during office hours.
“As a teacher, it’s been kind of tough to be out of my normal environment within the FCS building and not knowing what classroom you’re going to have each class period for some of my classes has been kind of tough..,” said Shawnee Hendershot, assistant professor of family relations and human development. “…You don’t realize how reliant you are on a specific environment until you don’t have it anymore, I think the biggest thing is not being able to be in my office as much as I like to meet with students who are just stopping by between classes and what not, that I think has been the most difficult.”
Most classes have been moved to other buildings due to the heat. Professors have struggled with finding steady rooms for their classes and a place to work during their office hours.
“My office hours are usually in the morning, so the first couple of days that we didn’t have AC, it was just super-hot in there,” Hendershot said. “It was already over 90 degrees every morning and so I would hold my office hours over in the Student Center. Since then, it’s been cooler in the mornings, so I usually stay in my office during office hours. I haven’t really had anyone stop by though unfortunately because they don’t want to stay in a hot building either.”
Those who do stay in their offices during their office hours have brought in portable fans. The daycare has also brought in mobile AC units to try to keep their room cool for the children, as well as the daycare staff, throughout the days to prevent heat-related injuries.
“I know it’s frustrating for both the faculty and the students and it’s affecting the preschool as well,” said Carolyn Hess, senior in family and consumer sciences. “The preschool students, they’re here Monday through Thursday. There’s an afternoon session and a morning session so it’s really hot and I know the kids are upset. The student teachers you know, it’s hard to be in a good attitude for the kids when you’re… grouchy.”
Some of the classes that require materials in the FACS building, like the sewing classes, have had to continue classes despite the heat in the building.
“It’s frustrating and I don’t like having my classes in random buildings because I’m a creature of habit and I associate my class with a room… I learn better that way,” Hess said.
Students have not had access to their normal classrooms and have had to find out the day of which building their classes will be held and how to find their room for the day.
“Yes, I think it has caused problems because I think it has been really hard on all of the instructors and students, having to move all of their materials from their office or wherever they might have it clear to a different building and sometimes it’s a different building or different classroom every single class so they have to constantly be moving their things and I think it was causing frustration but it got easier with time,” said Meghann Fountain, senior in child development.
Some students have had the same class in different places throughout the semester without the consistency of one classroom due to the lack of AC in their building.
“I have been super impressed with the students,” Hendershot said. “You know it can be frustrating for them too to not know until the day of where their class is going to be held or not to be in the classes they expected to be in the same room back to back, they now have to move buildings… They’ve been pretty good to work with. They haven’t complained and in fact today a lot of our students… brought us treats and gave us a gift card for gorilla dining and we even had a student who made little cooling packs so we can keep in our fridge and wear around our neck so I think it’s really shown the character of our students and how supportive they are of us as faculty.”
Faculty in the FACS building don’t know when the AC will be fixed. Due to Hurricane Dorian, shipping of parts has been delayed and progress for fixing the AC has been put on hold.