Kean’s Boiler Plant Behind University Center
By Gabrielle Gale Prendatt-Carter
There’s nothing easy–or cheap–when it comes keeping Kean students, staff and faculty warm these frigid winter days.
Kean’s heating system has been in full-swing this semester as record breaking cold temperatures engulf New Jersey. With an annual utility bill of approximately $6 million, heating and cooling the campus is no small undertaking, officials said.
The main boiler system does not supply steam to all the facilities on campus. The STEM building, East Campus, Green Lane Building, D’Angola/Harwood, Kean Hall and Hennings Hall all have their own, stand-alone systems.
On exceedingly cold days, fuel oil is used instead of natural gas to run Kean’s boilers. As a result of a necessary call for curtailment by Elizabethtown Gas during cold weather, only one boiler at a time is used, impacting and limiting the steam capacity for the campus.
That sometimes causes additional problems. This winter the Facilities and Campus Planning Department has received numerous complaints about uncomfortable room temperatures, both too hot and too cold.
Temperature issues are addressed as soon as possible, according to Vice President of Facilities and Campus Planning, Phyllis Duke. Often times, a short-term solution such as a temporary chiller or heater will be provided until a budget for the repair is set.
“We work really hard at trying to make the environment as comfortable as possible,” explained University Relations spokeswoman, Susan Kayne. “If there are issues, you just need to let us know, and we’ll do our best to address them because we don’t want cold students and we don’t want overly heated hot students.”
The University’s systems do not pinpoint every single room in the areas that are reported cold or hot, so complaints should be specific when reporting a classroom or lecture hall that is too hot or too cold. Dormitory issues should be reported to Residence Life’s maintenance department and not Operations or Facilities.
The main line number to report temperature issues to Campus Planning is (908) 737-5000.
Since class has been back in session for the Spring 2015 semester, Kean University has had two delayed openings, one early closing, and two class cancellations due to the snow and freezing cold. On Feb. 17 the school had a delayed opening because Union County reached a low of 13 degrees and had 0.10 inches of snow.
In the event that Kean must shut off the heat on the entire campus to repair the problem, temporary heaters must be approved by Kean’s Fire Safety Coordinator.
“So there’s contingency plans, but it all depends on the magnitude of the repair,” said Duke.