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Dorm heating in hot water

The heating in Peterson, Drew and Manor have been fluctuating over the last few weeks.

Tyler Leininger

Tyler Leininger


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It was a cold night on campus and not a soul wasn’t shivering. The heating in the three dorms each have different flaws, making them each a separate challenge.

Generally heating systems come in three different styles: air, steam and water. Hamline heating is a mix of steam and water complicating problem solving.

According to Stephen Bordsen, Hamline University Chief Engineer, “On a Friday [the engineers] thought they had resolved a design issue with the water heat hydraulics.” The engineers turned on the water in first floor Peterson because it was cold, unfortunately the return pipe didn’t work causing water to stagnate. “We worked on it quite a bit, it was a fluke.”

Drew and Manor are heated by 2/3rds steam and 1/3 water.  

“A lot of the heat problem is residual heat and old insulation, which doesn’t distribute the heat evenly,” Bordsen said. “Especially now with the large temperature swings, it complicates things.”

The heat that some students claim to be ‘unbearable’ in the buildings Drew and Manor can be explained by the way the heaters measure temperature and their control.

“Drew has mechanisms to measure the outside temperature and that’s when the heaters turn on,” Bordsen said. “And Manor measures the temperature inside, but only one room, which is problematic. The control… on the heaters… had to be added later on. They’re very old systems we’ve been updating them as we can.”

While students have spoken about their displeasure with the heating, the cost would be astronomical to update all the dorms.

“You’d think that it being (upperclassmen) they’d put in more amenities,” junior Christopher Holmes said. “Instead the heating turns on for an hour, then it’s freezing all night or it comes on for hours and it’s stifling hot.”

If a student is having trouble with their heating they should contact their RA, and if within 24 hours it isn’t addressed, they should then call Facilities.


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Dorm heating in hot water