This morning, students and staff in Caldwell Hall were alerted of a strange smell in one of the classrooms.
Students and staff said that there was a strong odor coming from the building, especially the fifth floor. At first, some students believed it was a gas leak. It was later confirmed that it was not. We spoke with Edward M. Panetta, a professor and department head of communication studies. His office is also located in Caldwell Hall.
He said that the smell was caused by a broken coil in one of the building’s air conditioning units. Caldwell Hall has been experiencing issues with their air conditioning unit since early January of this year. Over the Christmas break the AC units were turned off to save money and when turned back on, they were frozen.
Panetta said, “To my understanding, for the next month we are going to have 50 percent or less AC capacity, because they need a new coiling system that could take up to a month to get here.”
Professor Panetta also said that the broken coil caused the odor to circulate throughout the building. Between 9:15a.m. and 9:30a.m., the smell was so overwhelming on the fifth floor that professor Panetta released students from a class on that floor.
Professor Panetta reassures students and staff that a gas leak did not occur. “I asked the class to leave because the smell was obnoxious, not life threatening. I didn’t think people should have to take class for hours in that kind of environment.” He says that the smell has been fixed, and fans and portable AC units will be placed in hallways and classrooms.
Today, the building will remain open and classes will resume as normal.
By: Amber Shepp