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Advocate staff file photo by BILL FEIG -- Aerial of LSU showing the campanile, union and quadrangle.

While an air conditioning problem at LSU came to light Thursday, a school spokeswoman said Friday the impact is limited.

Air conditioning units are operating normally in classrooms and dormitories and at 76 degrees elsewhere, said LSU spokeswoman Rachel Spangenthal.

The comments came one day after the school said in a "Dear LSU Community" email that air conditioner problems across campus could take weeks to repair.

The announcement set off alarms, especially with Baton Rouge experiencing unusually high temperatures for February.

Spangenthal said classes are operating normally. That includes classes set for Saturday to make up for classroom cancellations when snow and ice struck the city.

Spangenthal said thermostats have been set at 76 degrees rather than the normal 72 degrees in buildings affected by the problem.

LSU officials Friday declined to make available officials most familiar with the issue.

In addition, some of the concerns described in the school's announcement Thursday appear at odds with what officials said Friday.

Ernie Ballard, another spokesman for the school, said in an email that Thursday's message was not a press release but a message to students who had been experiencing air conditioning issues.

Ballard said that was mostly in buildings near the Quadrangle on campus, including Middleton Library and Coates Hall.

The source of the problem is an aging water cooler system that could take weeks to repair. The age of the system is unclear.

Spangenthal said the chilled water system and its cooling towers are on the school's $500 million list of deferred maintenance.

Leaders of LSU and other colleges and universities have long complained about the lack of state assistance addressing long overdue repairs.

State lawmakers have blamed recurring state financial problems for their inability to address the shortcomings.

Temperatures are expected to drop slightly next week, with lows in the 50's several nights and highs in the 70's.

Portable air conditioners are also being brought to campus to address problem spots, according to state Rep. Franklin Foil, R-Baton Rouge, whose district includes a small part of the campus.

Unnamed officials of the Emergency Operations Center said in their Thursday memo that the chilled water system was operating at 32 percent of its normal capacity. The deficit, they said, is the equivalent of losing about 2,800 residential air-conditioning units.

The announcement also said air conditioning had been turned off in some buildings, including Thomas Boyd and Efferson halls and individual faculty and administrative offices in academic buildings.

Sites never affected, according to the school, include the Student Union; LSU Recreation, called UREC; Barnes & Noble Bookstore; 5 Dining  Hall, 459 Dining Hall; African American Cultural Center, Women's Center and Veterans Center.

Follow Will Sentell on Twitter, @WillSentell.