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Process to turn heat on to Athens Campus buildings begins

In the coming week, buildings across Ohio University's Athens Campus will be warming up when crews with Facilities Management make the switch from cooling to heating the buildings. According to the local weather forecast, temperatures are expected to drop as a cold front moves through Southern Ohio.

This weekend, overnight temperatures are expected to fall into the 30s, with daytime temperatures in the 50s. Mike Gebeke, executive director of Facilities Management, said that each year, he looks to turn on the heat around Oct. 15. The weather forecast is always a major part of the decision to turn on the heat.

Turning the heat on in the buildings will take time however, though all campus buildings should have the heat up and running in the next week, barring any problems that might arise. Gebeke says sometimes crews run into situations with a pump that has broken down or cracked seals, among other problems that they troubleshoot.

The residence halls should all have heat by Oct. 18 to combat the colder nights coming up. Larger academic buildings will be next, including Morton, Eillis and Bentley halls. Gebeke said that he won't turn the chillers off completely in some of the newer buildings that don't operate on the two pipe system. However, 80 percent of buildings on campus don't have that option.

With temperatures expected to warm up again next week, the buildings could get a little toasty. Turning off the heat is not an option in those situations. In the older buildings, switching back to air conditioning before the end of the year could cause serious damage to campus buildings.

"I call it shoulder months," Gebeke said when explaining the decision in the transition between the warmer and colder months.

Facilities Management will look into switching back over to the cooling system around March 15 for buildings with four pipe systems. Those running on two pipe systems usually switch over around April 15.

If any problems are discovered with the heating over the next two weeks, please let Facilities Management know by calling the work center at 593-2911.