Students received word on the morning of Monday, Oct. 22 that heating would be unavailable throughout most of the buildings on campus. UMBC’s community was further informed that while classes were still scheduled to operate, students should dress warmly to brace for lower-than-normal temperatures in classrooms.
A campus-wide alert from Facilities Management said, “A mechanical fitting on our High-Temperature Hot Water system at the Central Plant failed, [resulting] in the need to turn off the system.” The notification continued, “The impact of this failure is the inability to heat campus buildings that rely on this system for generating heat … as well as the Chillers producing chilled water.” Out of all the buildings on campus, only True Grit’s dining hall and the residential buildings, with the exception of Erickson Hall, had functioning heat. The Facilities Management team assured the UMBC community that they were working on the problem in conjunction with contractors to try and restore the system.
Despite the lower temperature in class, junior Etienne Anu, a biology major, recalled, “I didn’t feel any different. I just had my jacket on.” On the other hand, junior English literature major Julia Tallon said, “I had one class in the Chemistry building that was very cold. The table was freezing.” When asked what he thought about the whole heat ordeal itself, freshman biology major Al Hernández commented, “It felt a little weird that there were still classes [because] we had no classes for the water outage.” He continued, “[It’s] like heat doesn’t seem like a necessity.”
However, by 6 p.m. on Monday evening, the facilities management team sent out an alert letting everyone know the system had been brought back to order. Despite the heat restoration, the chilled water system was still not up to speed, meaning there would be none available, including for the use of campus laboratories.