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Oberlin College upgrades heating system

A new heating system recently installed in Oberlin College will make the campus more environmentally friendly while leaving a few college workers looking for new jobs.

This month, Oberlin College finalized a project that it’s been working on for more than a year — replacing its old coal heating system with a more environmentally friendly gas boiler plant. The system will use natural gas to heat the college, said Oberlin College project manager Leo Evans Jr.

However, the new system, which Evans said is easier to operate, also means a change in personnel. Of the nine employees who worked the old coal heating system, five will remain.

Scott Wargo, spokesman for Oberlin College, said that of the four former boiler plant workers, one will be transferred to a position with the HVAC and central heating plant in the college.

“The others will have the option to apply for positions currently vacant on campus in other classifications,” Wargo wrote in an email Tuesday.

“The natural gas boiler plant is an automated system and does not require the delivery, storage and distribution of coal,” Wargo wrote.

The project follows the example of many colleges nationwide that are turning to gas boiler plants, said Bridget Flynn, the sustainability coordinator for Oberlin College.

Flynn said that using coal for heating produces almost double the emissions that natural gas produces. He added that the change will not affect students on campus.

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