Hot Summer, No AC For Some Residents

With temperatures reaching into the high 90s just last week, residents in Barrows and Vance Halls were rudely awakened by the excruciating heat without air conditioning.

“It’s been an extremely hot start-up,” Residence Life Director Jean Alicandro said of the increase in temperatures this summer. “I’ve never seen a fall start-up season with this hot of temperatures consistently.” 

Alicandro believes students have faced “extra hot weather” this year more than ever before in the university’s history.

Because of this, more students are struggling to deal with the hot living conditions in both residence halls in use on-campus without air conditioning, Barrows and Vance Halls.

Carroll Hall, what many know to be simply an academic building, will soon be transformed into the residence hall it once was, but better.

The $30 million renovation of Carroll Hall will completely transform the building from “top to bottom” by 2022, according to Interim Chief Facilities Officer Sal Cintorino.

“The building [Carroll Hall] will look brand new when we’re done,” Cintorino said.

Students are not permitted to bring portable air conditioning units into their dorms to deal with the heat, as both Barrows and Vance Halls are “older and cannot sustain the power source,” according to Alicandro.

The only source of cool air circulation residents can use is through fans, which students need to bring themselves in order to use.

Central Connecticut student and Barrows Hall resident, Levanie Freeman, expressed that the university should make it more accessible for students to bring their own source of air conditioning rather than fans.

“For the buildings that don’t have AC, which is only Barrows and Vance, we should be allowed to bring our own air conditioner of some sort,” Freeman said. “A fan isn’t really cutting it.”

“One of my friends in Barrows told me she wakes up drenched in sweat, despite having a fan in her room,” Freeman stated.

In order for students to have access to central air conditioning in Barrows, Vance and Carroll Halls, the three buildings will need to be completely restructured.

“Conditions are certainly less than desirable,” Cintorino said. 

According to Cintorino, just adding a central air unit will still cost millions of dollars for each building because of the need to restructure and input a better, sustainable power source.

“Dynamics and structure are more than just the simplicity of the [air conditioning] unit,” Cintorino said.

Both Vance and Barrows Halls will also receive large renovations in the next 10 years, as they are a part of the university’s “ten-year plan.”

The cost of restructuring Barrows and Vance Halls total nearly $40 million each, as both buildings are “complete renovations, from the basement to the roof, technology, wiring and more.” The buildings will be “inviting to [Central] students and state of the art,” Cintorino stated. These renovations will not only help the visual aesthetic of the university, but also prevent students from having difficulty beating the heat.

For some students, the heat affects their ability to do things in the classroom and in extracurricular activities.

“It’s so hot in the rooms that you can’t really sleep comfortably, which means if you do fall asleep, you wake up exhausted and frankly unable to be properly prepared for the next day of classes,” Freeman stated.

While students are facing difficulty with the heat of the summer, there are alternatives to dealing with the heat, according to Alicandro.

Residence Life takes “move requests” for those unable to handle this year’s hot temperatures, and it is a “very easy process.”

“If anyone is having trouble with it, we will move them,” Alicandro said.

The downfalls to this alternative are that it is “harder to get exactly where you [students] want” and it is “hard to go with a particular roommate,” according to Alicandro.

In some instances, this option may fix problems students are facing. In other instances, moving is not an option.

For Freeman, moving would make it impossible to find a single dorm in her price range.

“I secured a single and the only singles available are the ones in Barrows and Vance, other than Mid [Campus Residence Hall] which is out of my price range,” Freeman explained.

With the major renovations to come for Barrows, Vance and Carroll Halls, students will no longer have to worry about suffering through the heat in the comfort of their home away from home.

There has been conversation about installing central air conditioning in Barrows and Vance Halls for years now, Alicandro informed.

Installing air conditioning in Barrows and Vance Halls is on the university’s “strategic plan list,” according to Alicandro.

“When these major renovations occur, these residence halls [Barrows and Vance] will receive a complete facelift as well as new mechanicals which will include central air conditioning,” Cintorino said.

Carroll Hall will be the first of the three major projects completed, with an expected end date of 2022. Vance and Barrows Halls will follow with end dates in roughly 2025 and 2028. Each project takes nearly two to three years to thoroughly complete each project start to finish.

“We can never take them [the residence halls] off at the same time. It would be detrimental to the university,” Cintorino said.

For some immediate alternatives to the heat, Alicandro advises students to take advantage of the air conditioning in the penthouse of Barrows Hall or use the basement of Vance Hall because it is “cooler than the rest of the building.”

Although the projects are expected to take nearly ten years, students can still take matters in their own hands to beat the heat.