Part of UTMB AC unit fails

October 6, 2009 9:24:44 PM PDT
Because of a massive air conditioning outage Tuesday morning, some parts of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston have no AC. We're told it's partly due to the lingering effects of Hurricane Ike.It's not as loud as usual in the chill water plant of UTMB. Two chillers, each nearly the size of a semi-truck, broke down about 7am Tuesday morning. Twenty-five percent of UTMB's chill capacity was lost.

About 15 building are without AC, but the most critical buildings are still at full speed as the remaining AC was diverted their way.

"Patient care operations are up and running 100 percent. The trauma center, the hospital, and certainly those critical research functions that are important to both the state and the country continue to run," said Mike Shiner, UTMB Director of Operations.

Of UTMB's 7 million square feet of campus, approximately 1.5 million square feet have no AC. Those areas include an auditorium and an administration building.

Shiner says the AC outage is just an after-effect of Hurricane Ike and all the salt water that inundated UTMB.

"That caused corrosion and that corrosion won't necessarily impact that device on day one, but over time the corrosion continues and at some point, you'll have a failure of that system," said Shiner.

For those employees who work in the buildings without AC, they are being allowed to either work from other buildings or from home until the complex reaches full capacity, which they hope is by Friday.

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