By Josephine Clay
Despite ongoing repairs and maintenance, City College’s Ocean Campus is still waiting on several boiler and heating system replacements to be completed as the weather is cooling down.
Between May and Oct. 2023, City College’s Facilities Department has made considerable progress with both completing repairs and moving through the multi-step process of repairing and maintaining the college’s buildings.
Several heating repairs as of October include Mission Center’s boiler replacement and John Adams Center’s boiler replacement, according to a facilities heating issues update.
The update added that the Student Health Center’s electrical transformer will be replaced over winter break, and Cloud Hall can now access heat due to repairs.
Several of these repairs are the result of a Board of Trustees meeting on March 14 that voted to allocate $2,345,732 to replace “boilers, transformers, and associated components at John Adams Center, Student Health Center, Wellness Center, and Mission Center,” according to a March 16 City College press release.
Although the Mission Center’s boiler is now fixed, it took months, even after the chancellor acknowledged the lack of proper heating at least as early as November 2022, according to AFT 2121’s Nov. 10, 2022 blog post.
Several other projects that have been completed between May and October include the replacement of Smith Hall’s exterior doors, the removal of hazardous trees around Ocean campus, the repair of Batmale Hall’s roof, and the repair and resurfacing of the gym’s hardwood floor in the Wellness Center, according to project updates from the facilities department.
Despite this, several buildings on Ocean Campus currently lack working heating systems and boilers.
The Visual Arts building was one building brought up at the Facilities Committee Zoom meeting on Oct. 23 with concern for how it would be affected by the weather as it becomes colder.
Chair of the Facilities Committee Alberto Vasquez said on the subject, “At last Thursday’s Board of Trustees facilities committee, they did move a court action to replace the steam line from the Cloud Hall down to the arts. That’s something that will hopefully be approved this coming Thursday at the Board of Trustees meeting.”
The Board of Trustees approved the replacement of the pipes on Oct. 26, according to the facilities heating issues update.
While it is projected to be completed and working by Spring 2024, temporary solutions like small generators and space heaters will be provided in the meantime, according to the update.
AFT 2121 posted a description on their website of an affected class on Sept. 5 meeting at the VA building at 5 p.m. during the first week of September: “Students were wearing hats, coats, and gloves indoors, and that was with space heaters blazing. Class had to be dismissed at 8 p.m., a full hour early.”
The Wellness Center has been in the process of having its boiler replaced at least since Feb. 2023, and the project is scheduled for completion by Nov. 2023, according to the facilities heating issues update.
However, the center’s current lack of heating has been a topic of concern as the weather cools down.
PE and dance instructor Kirstin Williams said her biggest concern is the danger cold poses to moving bodies. She said students sometimes came to class during past winters in earmuffs and several layers, especially during one particularly bad winter when the air conditioning repeatedly came on, turning the room into a “freezer box.”
There are also other ongoing heating-related projects.
The Science Building is having a new heating system designed, Rosenberg Library boilers are currently working but are planned to be fully replaced, and a heating system and controls for Smith Hall are currently being designed, according to the facilities heating issues update.
The update added that the Office of Instruction is “committed to working with faculty and department chairs to provide relocations to alternative classrooms if there are heating concerns in the weeks ahead.”
According to the facilities department’s September update, there are also ongoing repairs to the exterior doors of buildings such as the library and Multi-Use Building (MUB). An October update on these projects has not been posted.
Many classrooms also lack working clocks or do not have a clock at all.
While winter is on everyone’s mind, that has not been without the awareness that the funds issued for maintenance and other projects contradict the fact that funds have not gone to faculty salary increases.
“The teachers, counselors, and librarians of City College have now gone three years without a raise and are now getting ready to strike in defense of our college,” AFT 2121 said on Oct. 18 on their website. The strike occurred on Oct. 26.