Cal State Long Beach students say there is no central air conditioning in fine arts buildings

CSULB fine arts students say portable AC units aren't enough during heat waves and ceilings tiles are falling.

Jaysha Patel Image
Friday, October 7, 2022
CSULB students say there's no central air unit in fine arts buildings
CSULB fine arts students say portable AC units aren't enough during heat waves and ceilings tiles are falling. They say they want to see renovations.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- California State University Long Beach students say their fine arts buildings do not have central air condition and parts of the ceiling have been falling.

"The AC became an issue when there was a record heatwave a couple weeks ago in Long Beach, which means it was hotter inside the buildings than outside, so classrooms were seeing temperatures upwards of 90, 95, even 98 degrees at times," said Kristen Huizar, a CSULB senior.

Huizar says the lack of air conditioning has been an ongoing issue. She says cooling rooms that are set up on hot days are not cool enough and portable air condition units are leaking outside the building or being drained into the sink where they wash paintbrushes.

Martinez says students have notified faculty and the administration.

"All they did was screw them in with these placement holders, so when you go in, you see the little circles, the holders, screwed into the edges of each tile. They're still breaking and some of them are still falling. We have a hole in both floors right now," said Nicole Martinez, a CSULB senior.

CSULB sent us a statement from school President Jane Close Conoley which says:

"This season's heat brought heightened attention to the lack of air conditioning in some of our facilities. Although 91% of our state academic spaces benefit from air conditioning, recent heatwaves have caused great discomfort in those buildings that rely on fans, portable units, and natural airflow.

As I write this, I realize there's nothing I can say that will reduce the unhappiness of faculty, staff and students who are in non-air-conditioned space. I wish I could.

In pursuing solutions, we confront many issues. At the system level, the CSU receives a fraction of the deferred maintenance and capital funds required by the campuses to repair or renovate space. And we, at The Beach, share only a fraction of that with 22 other campuses. Here at The Beach, we are forced to make difficult decisions on how to prioritize the funds we do receive. Many projects, like air conditioning parts of COTA, are vastly more expensive than one might predict because these 50+ year old buildings do not have the infrastructure to support air conditioning. Further, there are a host of issues related to structural, electrical, and mechanical systems in each of the buildings. For these oldest of facilities, replacement of the buildings is the only viable pathway for us.

Specific to our challenges in the art buildings, we are implementing a host of short-term solutions. These include hiring an engineering firm to assist us in identifying cooling solutions beyond our portable units, switching to temporary online or alternative instructional spaces when necessary, and promoting intermittent respite in air-conditioned facilities. We are also replacing wall air ventilation registers in applicable labs to increase airflow above code-required rates. Still, I recognize that all of these efforts are not ideal.

It is my hope, advocating with all of you to our elected representatives, that the CSU System and our campus can secure the necessary resources to build and renovate facilities consistent with the exemplary academic and co-curricular programs of The Beach."

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