School A/C failures blamed on it being too hot
BATON ROUGE - East Baton Rouge Parish School System officials blame days of triple-digit temperatures for air conditioner failures at multiple campuses this week.
Tuesday, school was canceled at Progress Elementary when the air conditioning failed. Parents were asked to pick up students and those that could not be immediately picked up were taken to a nearby church to stay cool for the rest of the day.
Also, a similar situation nearly forced the school district to move students from Northdale Academy on Cletus Dr. But, technicians were able to get the system working before students left campus, so they remained in classes.
A district spokesperson said there were several, other isolated air conditioning outages Tuesday, too. Students were moved around buildings from areas without proper air circulation to areas with adequate temperatures. Monday, students at Baton Rouge's McKinley High School were forced to retreat to the gymnasium as a motor broke on one of the school's air conditioning units.
"Mechanical systems are designed for 95 degree weather, when you have a couple of days of triple-digit temperatures, the additional strain of bringing the schools back to comfortable levels provides added stress on the systems," the district's spokesperson, Adonica Pelichet Duggan, said in a statement to WBRZ Tuesday afternoon.
"Sustaining these extremely hot conditions for extended periods exposes any weak links in the system. That is what we have been experiencing."
The district said it is considering adjusting some of its energy management policies to reduce the stress when systems are needed to perform quickly in unusually hot outside temperatures.
Classes resumed Thursday as the area was under heat advisories. Monday, the feel-like afternoon temperature was over 113°.
Duggan said the outages were not caused by failure to maintain the systems.
"It is important to note that we have adhered to a strict schedule for all of the normal preventative maintenance," she said. Adding, there are both monthly and annual maintenance procedures at schools.
"The issues are not a result of the start of the new school year, but rather the higher than normal temperatures."
All schools are open Wednesday, the district said.
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