Sweating It Out Before School

By: Jessa Goddard
By: Jessa Goddard

Knoxville (WVLT) Many of us have had to endure the heat wave without air conditioning at some point, whether that's in our homes, cars or running errands.

You know how difficult it is to try to stay comfortable.

Imagine trying to learn in that environment!

Volunteer TV's Jessa Goddard has more on the situation hundreds of UT students are facing tonight.

Two residence halls, more than 400 students, will spend the night before their first day of class tomorrow without air conditioning.

We went inside the dorms to feel just how hot it is, and find out what the university is doing about it.

With a high temperature of 96 degrees outdoors, the temperature indoors isn't much cooler.

In UT Sophomore Zachary's room, it's 93 degrees.

That's with a fan provided by University Housing, and one he went out and bought himself.

"And that wasn't working, so I just had to go get another one, because I woke up several times, dehydrated the entire time."

Zachary is one of 150 students living in Melrose Hall, and 260 living in Strong Hall facing the first few weeks of class in unseasonably warm temperatures.

Igor Fayermark, a Melrose Hall resident says, "I've got fans on 24-7."

But relief may only come when the heat wave crashes.

Dr. Kenneth Stoner, the Exec. Dir. Of University Housing says, "in an unusual year like this, it does make it very, very hot."

University officials say during a typical school year, the first few weeks and last few weeks can be uncomfortable for students living without air conditioning, and they're willing to work with those for whom it's unhealthy.

Stoner continues, "we could not move everybody in the building somewhere else, obviously, we could certainly work with a few that have special problems or special needs."

In fact, Zachary says university officials did offer to move him temporarily.

But like most, he's going to try to stick it out.

Fayermark says, "I'm going to stick it through. I mean it's only hot the first month and the last month."

But these 400 plus UT students may be among the last to live in on-campus housing, without air conditioning.

Stoner says, "we have air conditioned all the other facilities and these two are scheduled to go offline next fall because of other renovations we're doing."

Part of UT's comprehensive plan to upgrade and expand campus housing facilities is to close Strong and Melrose Halls to undergraduate housing.

Most of the common areas of both are air conditioned, so there is some relief there.

And some window A/C units are available, but can be hard to come by.

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