Mandatory AC installation will shake things up

Ashwini Athreya

Staff Writer

    During the FUSD Board of Education meeting, which took place November 18, the complications with the new, mandatory HVAC (air conditioning) repairs were addressed. These complications include funding, space, and community consent.

    “The work will take time and challenge all who work and attend school at AHS,” Steven Musto, the school principal, said. “However, when the work is done, our school facilities will be significantly improved.”

    Due to the growth of the student body and the need to empty out wings for space to work on the ACs, American would need fourteen portables for the HVAC construction and eight just to keep up with the population growth. Some favored investing into permanent, rather than temporary constructs to simultaneously take care of the HVAC installment issue and the proliferation of student body growth.

    “AHS has a cobbled look and looks mismatched aesthetically,” Larry Sweeney, clerk of the Board of Education, said. “The community is likely to be supportive of a permanent construction, but we need to check. If we do make the decision, we won’t have to worry about overcrowding for 50 years, depending on how much we put into the project.”

    In order to get money for a permanent construction, the committee must push for a state bond. However, the plan must be approved quickly, as the HVACs are needed by the end of August 2016 in time for the new school year.

    “The board is unaccustomed to using bond money at this level,” Mr. Fernandez, a guest speaker who proposed Measure E, said of the enormous price that would come with creating permanent construction rather than a temporary one just for the HVAC installments. “We can’t get done in time for September 2016 if we don’t start now. The portables can be started as late as April and still be done in time.”

    The money isn’t the only issue. The community’s consent is also necessary.

    “I’m against it if the community doesn’t want it,” Hiu Ng, a community member and parent, said.

    The reason that the HVAC construction is necessary is due to the new Measure E general obligation bond, according to which $650 million of bonds will be given to neighborhood schools to update technology, fix leaky roofs, and repair any old facilities. Temporary construction of portables is necessary to keep students in a classroom while the regular classrooms’ ACs are being repaired.

    However, some believe that due to the growing population of the student body, the HVAC installment would be a perfect opportunity to make the construction permanent. This project will need extra funding, so the district committee will have to comply with it before giving AHS the bond. Plus, the community must be on board with the permanent construction.

    At the board meeting, Trustee Ann Crosbie, one of the trustees, moved to accept the proposed plan for permanent construction and was met with a unanimous agreement.

    “This is not final yet,” Sweeney said. “The final approval will be in January.”

caption: New ACs will replace the current inefficient and unreliable air conditioning system. “The challenge during the construction will be the classes displaced from the main building while the roof is repaired and HVAC units installed,” Mr. Musto, the principal, said.

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