The Advocate

Broken AC unit causes discomfort

The Music Building AC chiller to soon be replaced after 30 years of use.

By Lorenzo Morotti, editor-in-chief

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Temperatures inside the recently remodeled Music Building are erratic and have caused students discomfort due to a broken air conditioning chiller module.

Music major and Guitar Club member Jesus Pastrano said the temperature in the main circular hallway has been uncomfortable when the weather outside is warm.

“When I was walking around the circle (hallway) looking for my classroom toward the beginning of the semester, it was hot as hell,” Pastrano said. “The temperature was hotter inside the building than it was outside.”

The AC chiller, which is supposed to water-cool air and distribute it through out most of the building, is past its 25 year life expectancy and needs to be replaced, Buildings and Grounds Manager Bruce King said.

Critical Solution’s, Inc. project manager Ron Johnson said the new AC chiller is already  ordered and the start date of the project is anticipated for Oct. 28.

“(The replacement) may start late next week, but we plan to begin the project on Monday,” Johnson said.

He said the installation of the new chiller will take about three weeks and should be done by mid-November, and it will not disrupt any classes on campus.

Martinez Sheet Metal, Inc., a mechanical contractor, came to inspect the old chiller and won the contract bid at $70,000, King said.

He said the AC unit is about 30 years old and its replacement should have been part of the building remodel, but it had to wait about eight months.

“The new unit will be much more energy efficient,” he said. “And it will save the college money in the long run by cutting down on our carbon footprint.”

King said the broken AC chiller, enclosed near the footbridge in the atrium, still distributes air throughout the building, but is not water-cooled and the temperature of the air is at the mercy of the weather.

The lack of a functioning AC chiller has made areas in the building unusually warm or cold for some students.

King said he provided the small practice rooms with portable fans to help students deal with the irregular heat.

Music major Michaela Overall said she has classes in the Choir Room, M-116, and the larger Piano Room. She said both of these rooms are “really cold.”

“The smaller practice rooms still get really hot,” Overall said. “To the point where you become uncomfortable and have a hard time concentrating.”

King said while the new AC unit will only fix the heat problem, it is unknown why some areas are too cold because the boiler, which provides heat to classrooms, is still working.

He said the unusually colder areas could be because different people are used to different temperatures.

Lorena Alm, music major, said M-116 makes her feel like she is “frozen” when she is in class.

King said the state mandates that the temperature in any public building must be within the range of 68 to 72 degrees.

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The Student Voice Of Contra Costa College, San Pablo, Calif.
Broken AC unit causes discomfort