After student protest when the university announced that residents of LXR Hall and Nevils would not have air conditioning until May, administrators said they would install a temporary generator-powered chiller next week.
Heat has been turned off in both buildings and fans have become available to all rooms that request them.
Pedestrian access through the LXR and Nevils courtyard was restored Wednesday, marking the end of one stage of the renovations to East Campus. The next steps for the renovations include the replacement of the emergency generator and the chiller, which controls the air conditioning for East Campus.
Permanent replacement of the chiller, which failed after Nevils’ interior renovations were completed last summer, is expected to be completed by early May.
“Replacement of the chiller was not a part of the scope of the Nevils renovation,” Vice President for Facilities and Student Housing Karen Frank wrote in an email.
Pedestrian access through the courtyard will be maintained while the building’s temporary air conditioning is installed, according to an email sent by Executive Director of Student Housing Patrick Killilee to residents of East Campus Wednesday evening.
Students reacted vocally to the initial news that their dorms would not receive air conditioning until mid-May, as temperatures reached 80 degrees Fahrenheit early this week.
LXR Hall resident David Schaffer (COL ’14) drafted an open letter to the Office of Student Housing that he submitted Wednesday afternoon. According to Schaffer, students are entitled to demand that the lack of air conditioning be addressed based on the over $4,000 that residents of LXR Hall and Nevils pay for housing each year.
“I think that asking for accommodations on the pricier side is not unreasonable,” he said.
Schaffer drafted an open letter online and posted it to Facebook Wednesday. At press time, it had received 369 signatures from East Campus residents, sympathizers and a self-identified medical professional.
Student complaints also received university attention through Hoya Ideas Community, an online student feedback portal. A post submitted by Michael Crouch (MSB ’13) received over 85 votes and currently has been designated as “in review” by the university.
With the restoration of part of the courtyard, the security doors on N Street and 36th Street will be closed and their emergency alarms will be reinstalled. Students must enter LXR Hall and interiorNevils apartments through the Walsh lobby or the 35th Street entrance.
The Office of Student Housing also cautioned that construction noise and brief disruptions to pedestrian walkways are to be expected. Part of the courtyard between Nevils and LXR will remain fenced as well.
Renovations to East Campus began last summer, when Nevils apartments received new furniture, lighting and windows, renovations to their bathrooms and kitchens and updates to the fire alarm system.
According to Frank, all renovations to East Campus are on schedule.