High heat in Evans Hall sparks complaints among students, faculty

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Deborah Chen/Staff

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Recent fluxes in Berkeley’s temperatures have made Evans Hall, which houses the campus’s economics, mathematics and statistics departments, unbearable for some of its inhabitants.

Berkeley rarely experiences extreme weather, hovering at an average of 58.1 degrees, with an annual high and low of of 67.8 degrees and 48.4 degrees, respectively, according to U.S. Climate Data. This month’s heat spell in Berkeley, however, topped out at 102 degrees, according to Weather.com, and the temperature increase in Evans became “very noticeable,” according to Sonya Scott, an adviser for the College of Letters and Science who works in the building.

While some of Evans’ rooms have windows or ventilation, others do not. Marc Dordal, a campus doctoral candidate, said he finds Evans to be more or less bearable depending on which office he is in. Nobody complains strongly enough for it to be an issue, he said, but he added that “it was hard” to be in Evans during the heat wave.

Some students were more affected by the heat spell than others.

“It’s not very conducive for learning,” campus junior Lauren Hughes, who has evening discussions in Evans, said of the heat.

Campus senior Ryunhee Kim cited several complaints about the heat on Piazza, an online Q&A forum used by many campus classes.

But Angeline Hsu, a student employee for Evans’ Mathematics Statistics Library, said she sometimes brings a jacket to work because of the cooler library climate, and campus freshman Kareem Ahmad noted a hallway breeze on the ground floor.

“I’ve been here for 20 years, and it never bugged me,” John Steel, a professor emeritus of mathematics whose office is in Evans, said. “I grew up in the Central Valley, so I’m used to really bad heat.”

A campus policy on energy use regulates the operations and conservation practices that buildings around campus follow. During occupancy, temperatures in office and classroom spaces are expected to range between 68 to 78 degrees. The policy, however, exempts cases of mechanical and power failure as well as “heat spells and cold snaps.”

“If it was hot and it was something we could control, we would record it,” campus business manager of facilities services Gregory Falkner said, adding that he had received many requests over the recent heat wave. These requests come in forms of “tickets,” or work orders, which address facility problems that require attention, such as broken machinery.

If Evans’ faculty or staff wished to have mechanical air conditioning installed, they would need to petition the issue with their department or building manager, Falkner said.

Contact Matthew Lo and Alicia Kim at [email protected].

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  • Farland Chang

    solid reporting matthew and alicia!