Science classrooms face thermal distress

Ben Royce, Senior Writer

Hot or cold? These rooms can’t decide! Numerous classrooms in the science hallway currently host faulty heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, leading to either frigid or tropical mornings for dozens of students.
“Some classrooms are really cold, while others are really hot. We have no control over the thermostat,” physics and astronomy teacher Annette Lin said.
Though this temperature crisis has thrown a wrench in the works for administration, it came with little surprise for many. The problems in these rooms can be traced back to the Addition and Modernization remodeling project of 2012, which entailed numerous updates to and expansions of areas all around the school, including the Commons, administrative spaces, and locker rooms.
Unfortunately for science teachers, their corridor received little of this large-scale reconfiguration.
“We put new parts in the school, but this wing is considered the oldest part of the school, and the HVAC system hasn’t been functioning very well over the last several years,” vice principal Loren Krogstad said.
But how can workers fix the HVAC system without disrupting classes? The answer is a rotation system for the classrooms, in which each teacher spends one to two weeks teaching in the lower auxiliary gym.
“All I know is that I have access to a computer cart for my students, and for myself personally, I have to plan to be in the gym for two weeks,” Lin said.
Administration expects this construction project to continue through late November, and until then, many science students will have to perform their labs and classwork in the gym.
“Sometimes it’s hard to hear other people in class discussions because it echoes a lot, but it’s fine,” senior Lauren Gillespie said. “Not much has changed in the class because of it,”
Gillespie is in Diane Allen’s environmental science class, which has just begun its turn in the lower auxiliary gym. Allen’s stay is the longest—at least three weeks—whereas most teachers only have to plan for one.
“The teachers have been great; they’ve been cooperative and patient just working through it. Again, it’s not ideal. But it seems to have run pretty smoothly for the most part,” Krogstad said.
After these renovations are complete, students will once again be able to enjoy their room-temperature classrooms, devoting their focus to photosynthesis and titration instead of ideas for winter-coat-tank-top hybrids.