Carroll climate change
Going from needing a sweater (or two) in one class to overheating in the next is nothing new to many Carroll students. What most student aren’t aware of, however, is the time and effort put into keeping temperatures constant, largely thanks to a computerized program called Building Management System and the tireless efforts of the custodial staff.
Building Management System is a nationally recommended program aimed at regulating, among other things, the temperature of a particular building. Carroll adopted the program in 2010. According to Custodial Campus Director Jeff Warner, although the program is digitalized, it doesn’t remove the need for a person behind the monitor.
“It’s computerized,” Warner said. “You know, pretty state of the art stuff, but you still need a human person to check it. It might tell you it [Carroll High School] is some temperature and then a teacher calls you and it’s not even close.”
The system allows Warner to look at any area of the building on a map and see what temperature it is, down to individual classrooms. It also lets the Warner and the rest of Carroll’s custodial staff know when something is malfunctioning and needs maintenance.
Computers aren’t the only way that Warner is informed of problems in regulating temperature. There is an email set up that Warner calls “the help desk” that any teacher or staff member can turn to when their classroom temperature is not what it should be. When the email is received, the problem is addressed as soon as possible.
“As big as this building is,” Warner said, “it seems like I fix something almost daily.”
For example, Warner recently had to address an issue in Math teacher Tim Sloffer’s classroom. The classroom got either much warmer or much colder than it was supposed to as a result of a broken valve in the radiator, resulting in students, like senior Nathanael Falater, having difficulties focusing on school work.
“His classroom was like 90 degrees since like the beginning of school until like two weeks ago because his stupid radiator broke…” Falater said, “and we were all drenched in sweat until the time his class got out and it was really, really annoying.”
According to Sloffer though, the problem has since been resolved.
“I had two temperatures,” Sloffer said, “either super hot or super cold and I would email them [the custodial staff] and they would reset it and it would be good for a couple of days and then it would go out again. So then, he [Warner] came down and I don’t know what he did, but since he fixed it it’s been awesome.”
So, if Warner is constantly adjusting temperatures, why are some classrooms still warmer or colder than others? Warner says it has to do with where classrooms are located in the building.
“If you’re in an interior classroom,” Warner said, “those always tend to stay warmer and if you’re in a classroom on one of the outside walls, especially during the winter time, they’re really cold.”
Location isn’t the only limitation on classroom temperature. In 2010, Northwest Allen County Schools began a push to save on energy costs. This means that teachers and the custodial staff are limited in the amount of heating or air conditioning that can be used. Building Management System helps to regulate this, along with individual decisions by Warner on things like when heating is turned off or on.
To save on energy, the school is also put on what Warner calls “unoccupied mode” in which the heating and cooling system is shut off after 4 p.m. and during the summertime, apart from when events are held at Carroll.
Warner is aware of the limitations of the system and has seen the difference before and after the changes were made in 2010. Regardless, he understands the reasoning behind the regulations.
“This is what we were mandated to do and this is how we run the building now,” Warner said. “Back in the day… temperatures probably didn’t fluctuate as much. Since 2010 we’ve had to save money.”
Since coats are not allowed to be worn during the school day for safety concerns, students might do well to remember to bring a sweat shirt.