Unseasonal weather leads to earlier transition to air conditioning

4 Apr 2012 | Lance Cpl. Jackeline Perez Rivera

Members of the community aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River will get their air conditioning on a little earlier than normal this year. Due to unseasonably warm temperatures, the Public Works Division decided to begin the process of transitioning from heating to cooling facilities aboard the installations.

“Under normal conditions we would turn off the heat around April 15 and turn on the cooling around May 15,” said Neal Paul, the operations superintendant with the operations branch of Public Works Division aboard MCB Camp Lejeune. “This isn’t a normal spring so we’re turning on the (air conditioning) earlier than we normally do by about six weeks.”

The transition began March 21 and is scheduled to finish around April 9. For some buildings it was a simple one day process. For others, typically older buildings such as most barracks, the transition takes two steps.

First, contractors come and turn off the heating, leaving the system to cool for at least 24 hours. While there they look for any damage or maintenance issues. The contractors later return to turn on the air conditioning.

“We’re doing everything we can as fast as we can,” said R. Scot Williams a planner and estimator with the operations branch of Public Works Division “A little bit of patience goes a long way.”

He added that accelerating the process could lead to damaged equipment and a longer wait for cool air.

Williams also said that service members should report any problems in the barracks through the proper channels rather than taking it into their own hands. They should report problems to their barracks manager who should pass it onto S-4. S-4 will notify Public Works. He also cautioned S-4 against delaying when reporting problems, even if it is only one case.

Williams said when service members try to handle the machinery themselves, not only does it constitute vandalism, but it hurts the system and has amounted to thousands of dollars in damages.  

In the past the transition was implemented the same day every year regardless of the temperature. However, Public Works has taken extra steps to make accommodations for the unseasonably warm weather.  

“I’m happy with the service we provide,” said Paul. “As tough as the Marines are working, at the end of the day they need to have a place they can go and be comfortable. To me, that is the most important thing we’re doing.”