To: Ashland School District From: Jordan Ely, Director of Finance & Operations CC: Superintendent Kelly Raymond Date: 08/28/2017 Re: Heat Mitigation
As we begin school in one of the warmer weeks of the 2017 year, it is natural for all stakeholders to question what the district is doing to mitigate heat concerns in our classrooms. Unfortunately, we are relatively constrained in our options, due to safety and security considerations. We will, and do, employ every viable option at our disposal. One method includes cooling the buildings at night and then keeping them as sealed as possible during the day. Another method is the deployment of large fans and swamp coolers in places where it makes sense.
In order to maintain suitable oxygen levels for student safety and learning, we pump in air from outside, regardless of temperature. This is done to “exchange” carbon dioxide for oxygen. Some of our newer systems are able to bring in just the amount needed, but the older systems stay wide open. Replacing these systems would be cost-prohibitive, outside of a capital improvement bond.
A potential solution about which some have inquired would be to add window units. Unfortunately, the buildings that would benefit the most do not have electrical grids that would support that kind of power draw. Further, this solution is also cost-prohibitive, given the number of units that would be required to make a noticeable difference. Most of these types of units are not designed for industrial use, and our maintenance team has concerns about longevity. Moreover, the mounts are typically flimsy and easy to kick in. As such, we have concerns about security.
This is a problem not likely to go away, given the temperature extremes brought about by climate change. The district is committed to finding solutions that will make our building more comfortable. Anyone that has ideas about potential solutions can contact me at BusMgr@ashland.k12.or.us. Our first priority is always student safety, and I want to thank our maintenance crews for working with the resources available to ensure students are safe and secure in our buildings.