Why didn't the Lawrence school district get the last two schools air-conditioned during this past summer?
This summer was spent removing asbestos at both West Junior High School and Pinckney School -- a requirement before work could begin on installation of new air conditioning, said Bonnie Dunham, the Lawrence school district's communications coordinator. Nothing else can be done during that process, she said.
In addition, a new electrical system had to be installed at Pinckney to handle the air conditioning. The actual installation of air conditioning at West and Pinckney will begin in the spring, as soon as heat is no longer needed in both schools, Dunham said.
Craig Fiegel, assistant superintendent for administrative services, said it was simply impossible for the remaining air-conditioning work at Pinckney and West to be completed before school opened, too disruptive to continue working on it while school is in session and too risky to assume that all of the work could be completed before the heating system (which is tied directly into the new air conditioning) is needed later this fall.
In 1992, the board of education made a commitment to air-condition all schools. At that time, only half of the buildings had air conditioning. Since then, air conditioning has been completed at Lawrence High School, Central Junior High School, and at Riverside, Grant, Sunset Hill, East Heights, Hillcrest, Centennial and Cordley schools. Next summer, the district also will install central air at Woodlawn and New York schools to replace the window air conditioners used in those two schools, Dunham said.