Cold causes problems at schools

6:44 PM, Feb 6, 2014   |    comments
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DENVER - At schools around the metro area, the frigid temperatures are pushing older buildings and heating systems past their limits. In Denver, at the West High School campus, students were dismissed around 11:30 a.m. because some classrooms were just too cold.

"It got cold-cold. I had to wear two layers, because it was pretty chilly in there," student Yessenia Gutierrez said. "Some people even complained about not being able to concentrate and complaining about how the building was cold."

Gutierrez and other students say temperatures in some classrooms hovered around 30 degrees.

"I could just feel a chill go through my face or neck," student Jose Rivera said. "Some students would just sit in class freezing and shivering."

Trena Deane is the executive director of facilities for Denver Public Schools. Deane is dealing with similar issues around the district.

"With buildings built prior to the 1950s, we have a lot of issues with our heating system, our plumbing systems, trying to make sure we have the resources to be able to respond in a proactive manner to these issues," Deane said.

She says that all crews are working in buildings across the city. Deane even had staff members from the painting department go help the heating technicians. At West High School, workers are trying to get the building back in shape for classes on Friday.

"We do have serious heating issues that have happened over there," Deane said. "Several coils have frozen in some of the rooms."

In 2012, voters approved a bond issue to address some of the issues of heating and air conditioning in the older buildings around the district. Deane says the bond took care of a lot of the problems, but not all of them.

"I know there's a lot of work that we need to do in the buildings," Deane said.

In Jefferson County, the school district dealt with different issues. Early Thursday morning, bus drivers struggled to get all of the busses started. In the north metro area, parents complained about cold classrooms in a school in Thornton. The same concerns surfaced at a private school in Denver.

DPS officials will decide Thursday night if classes will resume at the West High Campus which houses four different schools - West Career Academy, West Leadership Academy, West Generation Academy, and West High School. Yessenia says she wants to go back to classes without worrying about the cold.

"I thought they fixed it, but I guess not," Yessenia said. "So, I guess it does not surprise me that this is going on."

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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