Reactions to the Bryan Center Plaza are a hit or mist.
The BC Plaza, since its inception in 2006, has featured the scheduled release of mist to offer relief during hot weather. Some students, however, question whether the benefits of the mist justify the use of water. Randy Orange, coordinator for projects and building maintenance, said the misters run on a precise schedule every day of the week, from April to October, regardless of the weather.
“The plaza is supposed to be a nice hang-out place for students during hot days, and [the misters] are kind of refreshing,” Orange said. “Unfortunately, on days when it rains and cool days in September and October and early April, they are still going to run.”
The process of creating the mist involves first deionizing water, a method of purification, Orange said, noting that unpurified water could corrode pipes. A pressure pump in a mechanical room below the Plaza releases the water at high pressure, creating a very fine mist.
Before the system is activated in April, the water storage tank is sanitized, the water is turned back on, the lights embedded in the plaza are replaced, the gutters are cleaned, and the whole system is tested, Orange said. Once the system is up and running, it is left untouched until Fall—and cooler weather—sets in, typically around mid-October.
Orange noted that there is not a sensor system in place that can turn off the misters when it is cold or raining.
Orange added that people have voiced concerns about the misters’ use of water to Facilities Management.
“We’ve been asked about nighttime—trying to save water—but the comments [among administrators] were that the mist looks nice in the lights,” Orange said.
Sophomore Thomas Kavanagh said he has no qualms with the misters, adding that he does not think North Carolina has any water shortage concerns, so the system does not pose an environmental threat.
Senior Sanjay Kishore said he understands why the misters are in place, but he said he does not think they would be missed.
“It does have some aesthetic value, but it should probably be controlled,” Kishore said. “Maybe use it for three hours a day.”
Regardless of the system’s intent, several students said they are unimpressed and in some cases perturbed by the mist.
Sophomore Lauren Kerivan said she does not see the value in the mister system.
“I don’t know how well they’re utilized,” she said. “I don’t know really what their importance is.”
Others, such as senior Anamika Saha, think it would make more sense if the system could be controlled so that the misters would only run during the day. But sophomore Amanda Meyer is put off by the whole system, noting that it is unnecessary for misters to run at night.
“They’re annoying,” Meyer said. “They definitely don’t need them [to run] at three in the morning.”