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Record heat making class uncomfortable for some D60 schools

Posted at 6:18 PM, Aug 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-21 20:29:49-04

PUEBLO — Wednesday was Ariana Pitts' second day at East High School.

"It's hot. You just walk in and it's like, 'Oh my goodness. A gust of heat,'" Pitts said.

With the absence of air conditioning at the school, she said sophomore year is off to a hot start of sorts.

"So, they have fans in the hallways and stuff like that just ot help with the heat, so we don't all die of heat stroke in there, cause it's hot," Pitts said.

News 5 learned Wednesday that 22 of the district's 29 schools have air conditioned classrooms, while six of those other seven schools, including East, still have some level of air conditioning in the building. However, the level of that relief varies greatly between the schools.

At East, the gymnasium and media center are equipped with air conditioning. That said, the media center's setup currently doesn't work. The district is working to fix it, recognizing just how bad the situation is.

"We know it's hot in all of our schools, even those with air conditioning. While the majority of our schools have some air conditioning, that doesn't mean the entire building is air conditioned," said Dalton Sprouse, communications director for Pueblo School District 60.

But several viewers reached out to News 5 to shed more light on just how bad the air conditioning situation is at some schools.

One person, whose name News 5 chose not to share, said teachers are spending their own money to provide some sort of relief, like fans or in-window air conditioning units, for students. Another sent a photo of a thermometer inside a classroom that read 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Suzanne Ethredge, president of the Pueblo Education Association, said the situation is hindering the learning environment.

"Those aren't optimal learning conditions. Their brains just can't work at that high of a heat level inside a building. And that is also impacting, like I said, our teachers, our paraprofessionals, everybody that works inside our schools. It just makes you less productive," Ethredge said.

The district shared the following information regarding air conditioning on a school-by-school basis.

These schools have air conditioning in the classrooms: Belmont, Beulah Heights, Columbian, Baca, Fountain, Franklin, Haaff, Heritage, Highland Park, Irving, Minnequa, Morton, Parkview, South Park, Sunset Park, Goodnight, Bessemer, Corwin, Risley, Roncalli, Centennial and Central.

Of the remaining seven schools in the district, six have some form of air conditioning in spaces occupied by students. They are: Bradford (media center, office and addition space), Carlile (media center), Heaton (media center), Pueblo Academy of Arts (media center), East (media center and gymnasium), and South (media center and addition).

Paragon has air conditioning in the office and addition space.