Above, it was freezing. Yet as I descended the railing of the steep stairwell, I began to feel the temperature around me warm to a balmy 58 degrees. At the bottom of the stairwell, I found myself surrounded by the crumbling decay of cement, brick and limestone, with mountains of century-old …

It’s 8:55 a.m., and students have just been released from the grueling mental challenge that epitomizes an 8 a.m. class at the University of Cincinnati’s Uptown campus.