Air conditioners have residents steamed

As Glendale Community College prepares to open its newly expanded Garfield campus for fall classes, some residents say they are losing sleep — literally — over a pair of industrial air conditioners at the site.

The two units are located at the south perimeter of the satellite campus at Chevy Chase Drive and Garfield Avenue just inside a 5-foot-tall wall that abuts several homes and apartment complexes. They cool two college buildings, including a new 40,000-square-feet addition that will be unveiled to the public later this month.

Residents said they have been complaining about one of the air conditioners for years, and that the problem was compounded when the second unit was installed in recent months as part of the campus expansion.

Diana Dukemajian said the rumblings of the air conditioners disrupt her sleep and make it impossible for her to enjoy her yard on Acacia Avenue just south of the site.

“I pay $3,000 a month for my mortgage and I cannot even enjoy the outside,” Dukemajian said.

The air conditioning units run throughout the day, but are even more aggravating at night, groaning on and off every half hour, neighbors said. They are also perturbed about intrusive lighting installed as part of a new parking lot, and noise generated by construction workers.

“They come in there and they start talking loud,” neighbor Robert Gutierrez said. “I went down there a couple of times and told them, ‘Hey, you need to keep it down, because it is not even 7 a.m. yet.’”

The residents said that despite voicing their repeated complaints to college officials and the Glendale City Council, nothing has changed.

Alfred Ramirez, an associate dean at the college, said that the newer of the two air conditioning units is equipped with the quietest fans available on the market. In addition, the college has ordered acoustic blankets that will be placed over the units that should help muffle the sound, he said.

The blankets are expected to arrive next week.

The units had been programmed to turn on and off at random times as part of initial testing, but they should now be shut off at night, Ramirez said. And the entire expansion project, including the air conditioners, was approved by the state Division of State Architect, he added.

“We have tried to work with the neighbors when they asked about it,” Ramirez said. “They did ask, can we just move it, but that would be cost prohibitive because it would be millions and millions of dollars just to move it.”

College officials said they are also looking into increasing the height of the wall that separates the campus and the residential units.

“We will fix this problem,” college Board of Trustees member Vahe Peroomian said. “We are not bad neighbors.”

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