The air conditioning was cut in the student center on Monday after traces of legionella were presumed to be found in the building’s cooling tower.
The announcement was emailed from Wayne State’s Department of Facilities, Planning and Management to all student center employees at 6 p.m. Monday evening.
Wayne State’s Water Safety Program was performing its routine testing of water-based cooling systems on campus when bacteria was discovered, according to the email.
“We recently discovered high levels of what is presumed legionella in the cooling tower of the Student Center building,” according to the email.
The email said that while legionella occurs naturally in streams, lakes and rivers, it can also be found in water-based industrial cooling systems.
“In the interest of safety…we have temporarily turned off the air conditioning in the building to prevent aerosolization of bacteria and to allow disinfection of air conditioning equipment,” according to the email.
The water safety program and FPM did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
Student center director Katie Beaulieu said several students and professional staff currently work in the building.
“It’s up to each department on how to proceed over the next few days,” Beaulieu said. “We know the majority of employees who can work remotely.”
An excess heat warning is in effect from noon Wednesday until 8 a.m. Thursday with heat index values expected to reach 105 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Weather Service.
Beaulieu said the building’s ventilation system will bring in fresh air in the morning, although there are no fans in common areas.
Students are advised to seek other places of study on campus, she said, including the David Adamany Undergraduate Library and the Purdy Kresge Library.
Amelia Benavides-Colón is the editor of The South End. She can be contacted at [email protected]
Cover photo by Quinn Banks.