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Update 4 p.m.: UW-Madison's 330 or so buildings that rely on a central heating-cooling system were being provided with less than a big chill in Monday's heat. Four of the system's chillers were down at three power sources, putting the university's cooling capacity at 77 percent for most of the day.

One chiller was fixed Monday, another will take several days to repair, one was out for scheduled repair and the fourth was waiting for a part, said Alan Fish, vice chancellor for facilities, planning and management.

"Because we are on a central system, we have to keep the chilled water in that system at a low temperature, and the only way to do that is to shed some load," said Fish.

The cooling priorities were the hospital and clinics first, then research areas, animal quarters and, last, offices and classrooms.

Fish said that by Monday night a second offline chiller might be fixed, which would put the system capacity at 83 percent.

"That should get us through this heat wave," he said.


12:15 p.m.: Things will be heating up real soon on the UW-Madison campus.

The university will be cooling down the air in only essential buildings starting Monday, after three chillers at heating plants either broke down or are under repair.

With a lack of chilled water flowing through the system, only the most critical operations will be cooled down, while other buildings will either open operable windows or have no air conditioning.

"Human comfort will not be a top priority in chilled water distribution until the chillers are back to full capacity," the UW-Madison said in an article from the news service.

A failure of a chiller at the MGE west campus co-generation plant, and repairs to chillers at the Charter and Walnut Streets heating plants, prompted the cool down shutdown.

The chiller, which is operated by MGE but owned by UW, was back online by 4:30 p.m. Monday.

The most critical operations will be "adequately cooled" with those operations including UW Hospitals and Clinics, and buildings or rooms housing animals or involve temperature-sensitive experiments, and essential server rooms.

"The university is working to designate cool zones where students, faculty and staff can find comfort," the news service article said.

More information on the cool zones will be available later Monday on the UW-Madison website.

Technicians are working to resolve the chiller breakdowns but it isn't known as of early Monday afternoon when the chillers will be back at full capacity.

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