A/C Issues

With most classes in the old building, hot days can be unbearable without air conditioning

A/C unit (Óscar) hooked up to the window in Maestra Timm’s classroom (F2). By: Avneet Dhaliwal. 

As students returned to school this fall, they were welcomed by the blistering heat. Most students have their classes in the Gold building, built in 1953, which has had no cooling systems installed except for in the library. For many students, spending 91 minutes in stuffy classrooms is unbearable, which raises the question, why haven’t school officials taken steps to find a solution for the heat, when all of the building’s inhabitants (including them) are negatively affected?

     The Gold building is old. Hence, there are practical reasons as to why there is excellent heating in the building and sufficient air circulation but a lack of air conditioning. Referencing an academic study which records the climate of Oregon through 1929-1953, the weather currently is not all too different from back then. With temperatures reaching an average of 62.3F in Septembers and 63F on average during the end of the year. 

     When WAHS added a new addition to the campus last year, there was no way to address the lack of A/C in the existing building. Students come back from lunch and enter sticky classrooms that make them lethargic and tired, increasing their odds of falling asleep during a lecture. The heat can have an opposite effect on someone else, instead, the thick humid air sticks to their skin and the moisture fills up your lungs. Hot air begins the torturous cycle of sweat. No matter how much water is drunk, your face flushes in an attempt to cool you down.

      A discomfort causing many students to feel suffocated and irritable, as English Teacher, Krissy Rasmussen said, “…then it’s already 95 degrees. They just physically cannot come in or it makes their temper short. And it’s not their fault. That’s such an external thing, and I don’t like to be hot, so I totally understand it.” 

     Sophomore Sierra Buhlert mentions feeling frustrated. “[The lack of cooling] makes me really upset honestly, as someone who likes to wear layered [clothing] a lot, it gets really annoying to have to take on and off layers whenever I enter different parts of the building since they’re all either really hot or cold.” 

    Some possible solutions that have been mentioned are opening doors, windows, and supplying fans or heaters depending on the individual problem, however, opening external doors is now prohibited due to safety concerns. Subsequently, Rasmussen brought up a factor many don’t consider when asked for a possible reason why the problem has not been solved yet., “I think I just assumed it’s because the building is really old and I’m not naive enough to think that air conditioning is not very, very expensive,” Rasmussen said. “When you have to choose how to spend your money…[wouldn’t] the bigger budget [go to] support teachers than to the maintenance of the building?”