By Cassie Ordonio
City College students and faculty may soon be relieved of Batmale Hall’s extreme temperature fluctuations caused by broken chillers and boilers.
Batmale Hall’s temperature issue was recognized several years ago. The Department of Facilities Planning and Construction (DFPC) developed a Year One project to help control the 39-year-old building’s temperature.
Proposition 39 was approved by San Francisco voters in November 2012 and gave the college $900,000 to pay for the project and other campus needs.
“People need to, really need to think about the quality of education in terms of what the classroom temperature feels like,” Pacific Island Studies professor David Palaita said. “The temperature in the rooms really affect the way teachers teach and how students learn. It jeopardizes participation.”
Batmale Hall’s broken chillers and boilers, which control how hot or cold the building gets, are the root of the problem, said Paul Wilhite, architectural associate for Facilities Planning and Construction.
“This is a pretty big project for the school,” Wilhite said. “The whole purpose is to improve the ventilation for the building.”
The project began on March 19, and the department had an opportunity to speed up the process over spring break. Since the building was not in use, they shut down the power to replace the old boilers, Southland’s Project Manager Dan Goodman said. However, the new chillers will not arrive until June.
The second floor of Batmale Hall gets even warmer than usual during San Francisco heat waves, and the majority of the classrooms have no windows or ventilation.
Palaita has been teaching in the building since 2007, and this project gives him a sense of relief. He uses a fan to keep his students and himself from overheating. During colder days the fourth floor gets so cold students must bring extra layers of clothing.
A DFPC person and PG&E representative Kathrine Long conducted a walk-through on April 6. Long, who is new to the project, came to assess energy efficiency and progress with DFPC’s timeline.
The walk-through began at 11 a.m. and proceeded from outside Batmale Hall’s third floor to the compressor area on the rooftop.
“Everything has been pretty solid as far as we’re concerned,” Wilhite said. “The ultimate goal is to be energy efficient. We’re upgrading all of our basic infrastructure.”
Eighty-five out of 100 thermostats have so far been changed, Goodman said. “This will help improve energy efficiency and occupant comfort,” Goodman said.
The department aims to finish their Year One project by the end of July, and will be working on Year Two, the infrastructure of the Art Extension building next.
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