UH West Oahu cooling classrooms while AC is out

UH West Oahu cooling classrooms while AC is out
Sweaty students in overheated classrooms. We're not talking about public schools. Air conditioning at the University of Hawaii West Oahu has been out since Monday.

"It is an inconvenience," campus services manager Kimo Yamaguchi said.

To help cool things down in the interim, the university rented a 120-ton mobile chiller. On Wednesday it began feeding cooler air into the campus's five buildings where students said the climate has been uncomfortable.

"The only ventilation we have right now are the doors, so the air is extremely stagnant," student Ronie Augustin said.

West Oahu also brought in 23 portable AC units to help cool the school's 13 classrooms and six laboratories where temperatures have reached the mid-80s.

"It's actually really hot in the classroom," said student Sam Torres.

The windows in the buildings don't open. The problem is with the air conditioning unit's electronics.

"It was determined that one of the frequency variable drives had gone down and also a panel board," Yamaguchi said.

He said replacement parts are coming from the East coast. The AC system is over two years old and out of warranty. Emergency funds will pay for the fix and to rent the portable units and temporary chiller.

"We've seen the chill water temperature get down to about 74 right now," Yamaguchi said. "Tomorrow we'll probably see a bigger difference in the cooling."

The weekly rental rate for the portable chiller is $7,000. It costs $6,500 a week for the portable air conditioners. Some teachers have held classes outdoors, and the campus is handing out free bottled water.

"We've been going outside. They've been passing out water. They're trying to help us," Torres said.

"They are trying to help, It's just that it's taking a while," Augustin said.

All the buildings at West Oahu are tied into one air conditioning loop, so the shutdown affects every room.

"We're working our hardest to get this system up and running as quick as possible. Sorry for what has happened. We'll get it done," Yamaguchi said.

The goal is to have the air conditioning fixed by Friday.

EWA BEACH, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Copyright 2014

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