COLORADO SPRINGS — Some Jenkins Middle School classrooms are without air conditioning after a number of units went out just before the start of school.
As both district and school level facility teams work to fix the air conditioning units, they've added some new additions throughout the building to keep staff and students cool.
"Administrators have been coming to the school to put out industrial fans, classroom fans, portable swamp coolers, and hand out cold water to students," said Devry Ashby, Chief Communications Officer for District 11.
Due to nationwide supply shortages, some parts needed to fix the units are on backorder.
"Now because of supply chain demand for parts of those units, there's been a delay in getting those parts to our district so we can repair those things," said Ashby.
Currently, sixth grade is running at full capacity, seventh at half capacity, eighth at 3/4 capacity and already noticing a drop in temperature. The gym is also running at half capacity.
"When we were alerted to the fact that we had some kids and staff that were feeling a little dizzy and lightheaded because of the heat. Our team took action, and as you can tell right now it's feeling a little more comfortable especially for kids," said Ashby.
As the oldest school district in the city, and most of the buildings over 50 years old, Ashby says these types of issues can occur.
"If you live in an older house you may understand the complexities with an older home. Like when one thing breaks, everything breaks and so we're asking for patience because the same situation happens in our schools," said Ashby. "A lot of our schools still don't have air conditioning. Jenkins is a newer school although twenty-plus years old. While it is a newer school they still have challenges of older equipment going out."
The district does have a long-term solution.
"It is a $350 million no-tax bond that's being proposed for the November ballot. That money would go toward touching every single school in our district to improve things like air conditioning and HVAC. Thinking back to when the core of our schools were built, it was before the internet, before the technology demands that we have these days and before air conditioning was the norm," said Ashby.
With the no-tax bond, one of the urgent needs would be the air conditioning and HVAC systems.
In the meantime, the district is asking for patience from families as they wait on much-needed parts to come in. They did just get in the new compressors two weeks early, and the next step would be to schedule a crane to get the compressors on the roof for installation.