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Dept. of Education Building Without Heat for 6-8 Weeks

4:35 PM, Jan 7, 2014   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- News19's On Your Side line spoke to several people who say a state building has been without heat for weeks. The callers say they work at the Rutledge Building on Bull Street in Columbia. 

The Department of Education offices are in that building. Workers say that portable space heaters have been brought in, and are in place, but the temperature is still in the 50s inside the building.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education confirmed to News19 that the main system that provides heat to much of the building is not working, and that temporary heaters have been placed on every floor of the building in an effort to make it as comfortable a work environment as possible, given the situation. They then referred us to the SC Budget and Control Board, which owns the property.

A spokesperson for the board says the fan system on the building's heating unit needs to be replaced. It could take 6 to 8 weeks to get the part and get heat restored.

Rebecca Griggs, Public Information Officer for the SC Budget and Control Board, tells News19 that since December 28th, 30 temporary heating units have been put in the building. The Budget and Control Board plans to install 8 more units Tuesday night and another 8 on Thursday.

We asked both the Department of Education and the Budget and Control Board to speak to us on camera about the problems, they declined those request.

Here is the statement the Budget and Control Board sent to News19 late Monday:

"On Friday December 27th, the bearings inside of the main air handler unit for the Rutledge building came apart and caused the catastrophic failure of the fan system.  Due to the amount of damage, the air handler unit cannot be repaired and must be replaced.  It will take 6-8 weeks for a permanent unit design and replacement.

"In order to provide adequately heated working conditions for the employees and sufficient indoor air circulation, SC Budget and Control Board Divsion of General Services responded immediately by bringing in temporary heating units.  

"Twelve temporary units were installed on Saturday, December 28th, while additional temporary units were being secured.  Ten more units were brought in on December 31st and eight units on January 3rd.  At this time, a total of 30 temporary units are in place on various floors throughout the buildings.  Additionally, a separate permanent unit serves the basement and first floor and is continuing to provide heat to those floors.  

"General Services is taking readings three times per day to monitor temperatures.  This morning when employees returned to work at 8am, temperatures ranged from 55.5 degrees to 70.2 degrees at various locations throughout the building.  General Services relocated units in response to these readings to provide more consistent temperatures throughout the facility.  As of 3:30pm today, temperatures ranged from 62.6 degrees to 74.5 degrees. 

"General Services has secured eight additional units which will arrive tonight and eight more which will arrive on Thursday January 9th.  General Services will continue to work to bring in additional temporary heating units as necessary, available, and manageable within the load capacity of the building."

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