Individual thermostat update coming to smaller residence halls

Lauren Grobe

Future students living in Kinsolving, Blanton, Creekside and Whitis Court will be able to control temperature in their rooms with individual thermostats, which are set to begin being added next year. 

The dormitories currently rely on an automated temperature system that is controlled by each dorm’s maintenance office. Renovations over the next several years will add individual thermostats, said Randy Porter, director of residential facilities. Porter said renovations will begin this summer in Kinsolving Residence Hall.

“(Renovations) allow the students to control their own space,” Porter said. “It’s left up to students how they want their room to be.”

While some residence halls such as Jester Dormitory are being updated each year, some smaller residence halls such as Blanton, which was built in 1955, have not been updated since they were first constructed, Porter said.  

“We just haven’t gotten to the little buildings yet,” Porter said. 

For both the automated systems and the individual thermostats, Porter said the maintenance office relies on students to file work order requests if the thermostat fails or if their room temperature is uncomfortable.

Work orders are typically fulfilled quickly but not in time to adjust to sudden weather changes, Porter said. Hannah Horton, communication sciences and disorders junior and Kinsolving resident, said the temperature of her room can depend on another student’s work order because the surrounding rooms are controlled by the same thermostat.

“It’s kind of annoying because we can’t change (the temperature) ourselves, so the A/C stays on until people decide to turn the heater on,” Horton said. 

Aerospace engineering sophomore Meili Dubbs said she usually waits out sudden changes in the weather. 

“Last week it got really cold, now my room is freezing,” Dubbs said. “But I know it’s going to get hot again, so I don’t want to change (the temperature) and be miserable.”

Regardless of whether a hall has individual or automated thermostats, all systems have the same temperature range of 69 to 75 degrees. This decreases energy use, Porter said. 

Students such as Morgan Randel, a plan II and human dimensions of organizations freshman, have found living with automated thermostat systems to be uncomfortable. Randel said during Austin’s recent colder weather, her room felt “freezing.” 

“My roommate and I were remarking the other day that it was as cold (inside) as it was outside when the cold snap hit,” Randel said. “It did not feel like refuge at all.”