Scene on Campus

Last century's A/C

Woolsey Hall's ventilation system.

The Newberry organ isn’t the only mechanical marvel in Woolsey Hall. This fan, housed in the building’s basement, has done a yeoman’s job of keeping the famously un-air-conditioned building habitable since 1903. The cast-iron unit pulls in fresh air through louvers in the basement, while an attic fan draws stale air out of the hall through ceiling vents and exhausts it to the outdoors. The fans can reportedly move up to 90,000 cubic feet of air per minute—and they do it in complete silence.

Christopher Gardner

Christopher Gardner

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Equipment mechanic George Terry, pictured here, checks the fans weekly to make sure they are well oiled and running smoothly. “We give it more TLC than other pieces of equipment on campus,” says James Mancini, senior supervisor for equipment maintenance. “It’s part of the building’s history. We can’t go back and replace it, so we baby it.”  

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