University of Hawaii students are paying more to live in a dorm room with air conditioning, but not all are getting what they paid for.
A frustrated parent whose son lives on the Manoa campus reached out to KHON2’s Action Line for help, saying the air conditioning at Frear Hall hasn’t worked since last year.
Frear Hall is one of the newer residence halls at UH Manoa and the only hall with air conditioning. That’s a big reason why students pay more to live there.
But for months, many students say their rooms have been hot and “miserable,” and they just want to know when it will be fixed.
Kelli Lyman is a junior at UH Manoa and brought us into her dorm room to feel the heat for ourselves.
“Sometimes I open this to see if there’s more of a breeze, but that’s not helpful at all,” she said.
Lyman says the broken AC really distracts from her school work.
“When I’m sitting here and I’m just studying, it’s just really distracting,” she said. “It’s so hot, and that’s why I just go to the library most of the days.”
Lyman says UH gave her a fan in the meantime to deal with the heat, but she says it doesn’t help much.
“For a residence hall that is specifically for AC, this is what the students want. This is what we pay for,” she said.
Lyman emailed student housing to get an update on the broken air conditioning, but it took 10 days to get a reply.
“I feel kind of neglected,” she said. “For one thing, they took a really long time to respond to my email, and I feel like if this was an issue before move-in, it should have been dealt with prior to students moving in.”
Lyman says the school said it could take up to 60 days to fix the problem, but UH spokesman Dan Meisenzahl says students should expect AC within the next two weeks.
“This is unacceptable,” he said. “I really want people to understand our student housing people are working hard to fix the problem.”
We’re told 80 rooms at Frear Hall were without AC since January. Meisenzahl says most of the rooms are now fixed, but 20 rooms still do not have working AC.
There are one to two students per room.
As for why they’re taking so long to fix the units, Meisenzahl says there’s a number of causes. For one, there are only two companies on island that deal with those specific air conditioning units.
“We’ve gone out to bid on a few things. We’ve gotten nothing back. I guess they’re busy. That’s caused some of the delays,” he explained.
Meisenzahl says affected students will receive a $5 a day credit.
Another student who dorms at Frear Hall says he spent just over $4,600 this semester for housing, and he hasn’t had working AC since December.
We’ll continue to follow this and let you know when those repairs happen.