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Improved heating and cooling system at Langara College is being installed

Complaints of inconsistent temperatures classrooms arise

Steve Brown testing the valve of the new heating system in room A225 in Building A. Photo: Ana Rose Walkey
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Reported by Ana Rose Walkey 

Amidst upgrades and renovations to Building A, some students and faculty have been wearing toques to deal with frigid temperatures. Some are considering wearing masks, worried about dust and air quality in the old building.

Construction for new air conditioning system

A new self-regulating heating and cooling system has been causing swings in temperature as the system adjusts, according to Steve Brown, Building Mechanical Specialist with Thermenex, in charge of checking up on the new system. The system will heat individual rooms only when people are in them, instead of heating the whole building as one unit.

The system will finish being installed March 2018, then fully callibrated a year from then, Brown said.

“Once the project is completed, from there we’re going to move on to have it understand the way your guys’ building loads are,” Brown said. “We do a four seasonal learning process…for summer, fall, winter and spring, they all have different strategies that need to be created.”

Alexander Boston, Langara’s philosophy department chair, said his office got very hot last week, and when he tried to adjust the temperature, it didn’t work.

“I thought I could try and turn the [heat] down … but it didn’t respond,” Boston said.

Worries of asbestos in Building A

As renovations to the vacated chemistry labs advance, some faculty have been worried about air quality.

One instructor said teachers are continually cleaning dust covering desks and floors.

“We are renovating a mid-70s building…I don’t see any external ventilation,” said the instructor, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisal. “Have we addressed that situation? Do we know if it’s clean or not?”

Langara’s facilities director Wendy Lannard said there aren’t asbestos health or safety concerns in Building A.

“Where asbestos has been noted or suspected, it has been tested by a testing agency and where findings have been positive, it has been abated by a professional abatement company,” she said in an email, adding WorkSafeBC visits the site and monitors the abatement practices.

Lannard said the new heating system has not involved any asbestos, though some ceiling tiles on the third floor might be tested and “if necessary, removed following asbestos abatement procedures prior to the work commencing.”

The concerned instructor said while they are glad there is no asbestos, the college should have communicated that to everyone.

“I only wished we had known this before the work had commenced,” the instructor said. “[I] would like to see some further communications to students and faculty.”

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