Making service calls out in the field are part of the Academy HVAC curriculum. Ward Tech students in Chris Gibat’s class gained authentic, hands-on experience when they were troubleshooting a refrigeration system leak at Gabrielsen’s Farms in Riverhead. The 2,000-square-foot, walk-in refrigerator needed to be repaired in time for an incoming shipment of bulbs.
Gibat received the call from the farm asking for immediate assistance. “I tell my students that this is exactly how it is in real life,” he said. “You can’t let your customers down.” He and his class only knew that the equipment was not functioning properly. Analysis determined that the system had sustained a few leaks. The students located them in the refrigeration evaporators using an electronic leak detector, and on a hose using a spray bottle filled with water (bubbles created from escaping coolant identified the leak). Repairs were made in time to receive the bulbs, which need to be kept cool so they remain dormant until spring.
The Eastern Long Island Academy of Applied Technology, referred to as the Academy, is the Career and Technical Education Program of Eastern Suffolk BOCES and has locations in Bellport, Oakdale, and Riverhead. Ward Tech is located on the Riverhead campus.