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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UAEureka: March 27, 2012

Reader Henry Perkins writes:

“I do know what ABOR (the Arizona Board of Regents) is but I do not know why the clock in AME 202 (Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering auditorium — Speedway Boulevard and Mountain Avenue) has been out of service for several weeks. This is hardly a pressing issue but with the second exam coming up, students would appreciate a working clock. I look forward to true enlightenment.”

Q: Who checks the UA’s clocks?

A: We’ve heard similar concerns that clocks on campus seem to break, well, like clockwork. Issues such as clocks moving backward, minutes being counted as seconds and clocks that were wildly off were among some of the most common bad timing complaints.

Chris Kopach, the associate vice president of Facilities Management, says that the UA’s time zone is administered through a central master clock system, which derives all of its power from the Central Heating and Refrigeration Plant, the main power generator on campus. The clocks are also set to automatically synchronize to the national time standard in Colorado, according to the UA Manual of Design and Specification Standards.

In order to connect the university’s clocks to the power grid, it is necessary to run power cables throughout the nine miles of tunnels that snake underneath campus. Here, according to Kopach, lies the rub.

“We have miles of lines underground,” Kopach said. “Depending on the time and year, damage could wear them out.”

The cables are susceptible to damage by heat, water, age and groups of children trying to re-enact the plot of “The Goonies.” Because of this, it’s necessary to periodically replace these subterranean timelines, something UA Facilities Management is in the process of doing at the cost of $1 per foot of cable, according to Kopach. The central clock management system was itself replaced recently, at a timely investment of $10,000.

But as for what happens when time runs out, or at least amok, Kopach said Facilities Management personnel have to go out and fix each clock independently.

“This is a challenge just based on the infrastructure underground,” Kopach said.

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