UH-West Oahu students deal with no AC, windows that won’t open

University of Hawaii West Oahu

University of Hawaii West Oahu students are learning lessons in patience and understanding.

That’s because there has been no air conditioning in the classrooms for the past several days and the windows don’t open.

KHON2 wanted to know why they were built that way.

When the campus was built, the idea was to make it green and more energy efficient. But the design doesn’t work that well when the air-conditioner breaks down.

Students and faculty have embraced the school’s open-door policy and say sitting inside for any amount of time has been unbearable.

“(It’s) very hot with all the body heat. It gets hotter and hotter,” said student Jasmin Valera. “Everybody’s very sweaty.”

“This is miserable heat. I’m paying how much money and there’s no AC?” said student Nate Trinidad.

“It’s so hard. We’ll be in class trying to learn and everyone’s more focused on cooling down than the classroom,” said student Heavenlee Asato.

According to Kimo Yamaguchi, campus services manager, the chiller broke down Monday morning. Someone came in to fix it, but it broke down again that night.

What makes the problem worse is that the windows don’t open, because they’re meant to keep the warm air out and the cold air inside.

“Once we get the chiller units running, it will keep the rooms cool,” Yamaguchi said.

It’s not clear why the air conditioner is breaking down when the campus opened just two years ago. Yamaguchi said a temporary chiller will be brought in until the permanent one is fixed.

In the meantime, students and faculty have brought the classroom outside whenever possible. Ice-cold bottles of water are also handed out at the campus courtyard.

Teachers say it’s an opportunity to throw in some added lessons.

“Understanding that in many situations, how do you be flexible? So in this case, learning can still happen but we’re going to do it outside or we’re going to keep you hydrated or try not to get distracted with the heat,” said faculty member Lokelani Kenolio.

A spokeswoman said classes will continue as scheduled and none have been cancelled.

No word yet on how much it will cost to fix the problem.

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