Students left with no air conditioning following lightning strike at OU

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NORMAN, Okla. – Some University of Oklahoma students had to spend their first day of class with no air conditioning thanks to a lightning strike.

“Yesterday, I had Spanish, and the building I was in was really hot. So, I assume it didn’t have AC,” Chase Chitwood, an OU freshman, told News 4.

It wasn’t only OU’s Felgar Hall where Chitwood had Spanish class on the first day back to school Monday, but portions of 10 buildings on campus were in the same boat.

“When I came in, I noticed it was a little bit more humid than usual because I didn’t really expect that,” said Jael Tyes, who felt the lack of AC in the student union, said.

Some students felt the heat themselves; others heard about it from friends.

“Her teacher emailed her about how the class wasn’t going to have AC. So, wear like shorts or flip flops for the first day,” said Madison Sampson, talking about what her friend told her.

OU officials said storms that rolled through the area Sunday are to blame for the unfortunate setback.

“We had lightning in the area, and we had some power bumps and so that tripped off a lot of our HVAC heating and cooling equipment across campus,” said Eric Conrad, vice president of Operations.

With the heat index reaching 106 degrees at one point, Conrad said his crews worked tirelessly throughout the day to get the systems back up and running.

“When you bring that many students in, there’s a heat load, and that was part of the problem is that, even when we reset them in the morning, all the classes and buildings were filling with people and it just takes a number of hours to cool the space off after that,” Conrad said.

Students we spoke with said, while it was a bit uncomfortable, they feel it could have been a lot worse.

“It wasn’t too bad. I was sweating a little bit, but it wasn’t awful,” Chitwood said.

Conrad said everything was fixed by the end of the day on Monday.

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