Boiler failures leave UI students in cold

Some University Housing residents are bundling up inside their dorms and washing their face with cold water, as the University power plant is struggling to provide sufficient steam energy to campus buildings.

Carl Wegel, director of the maintenance division of the University’s Facilities and Services, said the University’s Abbott Power Plant lost two boilers last week – one on Feb. 22 and the other on Feb. 26. He said the equipment failures have made it difficult to generate sufficient low-steam pressure – used to heat buildings as well as domestic hot water.

Notices stating that the heat and hot air will be limited due to the boiler failures have been posted in some University housing buildings. But Sarah Hendrix, a resident at Busey-Evans Hall, said she did not find out that her building is not getting hot water until she tried to take a shower Monday night. She said there has been little information available to her as to why there has been no hot water, except a note on a bathroom door.

“It just said ‘no hot water until further notice,'” Hendrix, freshman in applied life studies, said.

Demarquis Young, Scott Hall resident, also said his floor has gotten much colder recently, but that he was not given any explanation why.

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    “The heat doesn’t come out at all,” Young, freshman in LAS, said. “I thought you had to turn it on. People were like ‘it automatically comes on,’ and I was like ‘well, mine’s not working.'”

    Young said he is wearing long sleeves and long pants to keep himself warm, as well as using his comforter at night.

    But Paul Newton, also a Scott Hall resident, did not notice much difference in heating.

    “I think my room is fine,” Newton, freshman in engineering, said.

    Stephanie Jason, resident of Garner Hall and freshman in business, also said she was unaware of any problems.

    “We’ve had hot water,” she said. “I haven’t heard anything.”

    According to an e-mail written by Wegel addressed to University officials, steam pressure is being conserved to ensure that all critical facilities and buildings receive sufficient heating. Wegel also stated that all campus pools are taken off-line due to the insufficient steam supply.

    “We would like to keep at least 9 to 10 pounds of steam at the farthest areas of the campus,” Wegel said.

    Wegel said the power plant’s staff is working around the clock to bring one of the boilers back online. He said there is concern about heating if the hydraulic test, scheduled to occur sometime around 11 p.m. Tuesday night to check for leaks, finds problems – the temperature was expected to drop well below freezing Tuesday night.

    “(If repairs fail,) we’re back to a situation where we’ll control load as much as possible,” Wegel said. “We are hopeful that things will be fully operational and that there will be sufficient steam capacity to carry the campus by tomorrow.”