Whitis Court dormitory boilers being replaced, temperature controls turning digital during winter break

Brooke Ontiveros

Students in Whitis Court Residence Hall have been experiencing severe fluctuations in temperatures since late September, mechanical engineering freshman Remy Feru said. He said entire weekends have been spent in 60-degree temperatures.

“It’s pretty difficult to sleep,” Feru said. “I had to put on sweatpants, wool socks and four layers of clothing on. It can be difficult to study because your hands physically hurt from the cold.”

Over winter break, Rick Early, director of residential facilities operations, said the University is planning to replace boilers and add digital controls to stabilize temperatures. Early said because the heating relies directly on functioning boilers, when one breaks, heat will be shut off entirely to a part of a building. He said one broken boiler was replaced two weeks ago, and the University is scheduled to replace an additional two.

Whitis Court resident Daniel Tavira said he has spent entire days and weekends in cold conditions on the male side of the dormitory while the female side has warm temperatures, regardless of the weather outside. 

“The temperature just isn’t comfortable to live in,” government freshman Tavira said. 

Early said Whitis Court uses a two pipeline system to heat and cool its buildings. He said when temperatures are within the range of 58-60 degrees, the cold water pipe will stop, and the hot water pipe will begin running.

“When the building’s cold and we need heat, our boilers kick on to create hot water that runs through the pipes but it takes three to four hours to make a complete switch,” Early said. 

Rooms are currently set at temperatures on manual controls that need constant recalibrations, Early said. He said the heat can be set to 70 degrees and a couple of days later, the temperature will change to 65 degrees.

“I can literally send a mechanic up there to adjust your room if you live there,” Early said. “I could adjust it, and it could be as much as three or four degrees off tomorrow.”

Early said students will still see a fluctuation in temperatures when the pipes switch between heating and cooling, but digital controls will allow for remote temperature adjustments, ensuring stable and comfortable conditions for students.