I work in the Widtsoe building, which is an anciently old building on campus. They have been remodeling it all summer because it was fairly hazardous (asbestos, bad wiring, etc.). I'm glad that I missed a lot of it because I was gone all summer.
When I came back from Jordan, we had no ceiling and no lights in the hallway. That was pretty interesting. We just got our ceiling put in a few weeks ago--they're still working on it. Some of the floors don't even have ceilings yet. It's pretty amazingly ugly right now. There's a joke going around that we're going to continue to take apart the building until the university agrees to give us a new one.
Anyway, this morning it was pretty cold. Not terribly cold, just pretty cold. By the time we got to campus our car had just started to warm up inside. I was wrapped up in my fleece blanket that I keep in the car just because I hate being cold! I was pretty warm, and believe me, I did not want to get out of the car! But because I had to, I was sorely tempted to bring my blanket with me. It didn't take me long to convince myself that that would be a silly idea. The weather here is such that even though it is freezing cold in the morning and I need my winter coat, it gets pretty warm in the afternoon and I don't even need a jacket. So I would have felt silly enough carrying around a coat this afternoon, let alone a blanket. I decided to leave the blanket in the car and complained about how cold it was all the way to Andrew's classroom...
I get to my office and the building is freezing cold. Wind is rushing down the hallway. And there's this email tagged as "important" in my inbox. It says,
"The Widtsoe Building is open this morning, however:
-The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system is not operating. Most areas are near 70 F.
-The fume hoods in the building are tagged to NOT be used.
-The anatomy laboratory is closed.
-Hazardous or volatile chemicals CANNOT be used in the building.
-All low temperature freezers in the building are operating, but some rooms housing them are warm.
We will send an update at approximately noon. Thank you for your patience."
It is signed by the dean.
So, I made up a phone message to send to all the faculty asking them to please not blow us all up today. Who knows what would have happened had someone used something volatile. Perhaps we would have been warm!
As it is, I sat in my office with my door closed and my winter coat on. It was horribly cold. It made me think back to my days of elementary school at good ol' Leigh Elementary in PoCo, BC. I attended that school from kindergarten until halfway through grade 4. We had some trouble with a gang...I think they were called the "Razor Blades" or something. They would often spray paint their name on our school, but I couldn't read too well when they were really into spray paint, so that might not be what they were called.
Anyway, they were pretty much a pain. They broke into the school numerous times and just messed with things. I remember that we had kindergarten in the library for a few days because they broke into the kindergarten rooms, broke a lot of the windows and scattered the glass and toys all over the floor. That took a while to sort out, so while our room was being fixed, we were stuck in the library.
Another time, they broke in and smashed up some of the pipes in the school, essentially the heating pipes. So, we had "Inuit Day" for a few days where we all got to wear our winter coats to school. Not that Inuit wear coats to school... Anyway, I was just thinking about that today.
The Widtsoe heating problems was not due to vandals, however. It was due to some construction work that was being done on Saturday. The full article that was publishing in the Daily Universe can be found here. Some guy was doing some wiring and it started to spark and then the power went out. And there was a little fire. And the power went out and blew something up so now the ventilation systems aren't working.
No big deal. No one was seriously injured. No research was lost (at least, not yet...we'll see if that stays true in the near future). No extensive damage occurred. It's all on the up and up.
Except for that update that the dean sent... The problem probably won't be fixed until next week sometime. This Wednesday at the soonest. I'm definitely bringing my blanket to school with me tomorrow!