Yesterday, SUHSD Associate Superintendent of Administrative Services Crystal Leach spoke at M-A’s staff meeting to present updates on a plan for districtwide air conditioning (AC).
Leach described the developing AC plan as multifaceted. Last year, she said the plan was in its “design phase,” but it has since evolved. Because it takes “over a year just to get the product for an electrical upgrade and about four months for installation,” Leach recognized the need for temporary solutions before the permanent plan is installed.
The short-term solution would include finding out “how many portable units we can put on our electric load before it collapses.” Leach described this solution as “a band-aid until we can get permanent air conditioning.”
Leach emphasized that the process of installing AC across the District is lengthy. “We have to work with an architect and a group of engineers, design systems and then procure the systems, get approval from the state, take it out to bid, and then schedule the actual work,” she said. “Most of the work unfortunately can only be done when we don’t have students there, so you’re looking at holidays and summer vacation.”
She said, “This has been on my radar since I was hired,” in July 2019. “I have been aware that our district needs air conditioning in all of the classrooms, so it’s something we’ve been working towards.”
Leach acknowledged there have been complaints about the quality of AC in classrooms. She said, “When you’re trying to take a test with 30 students in the classroom with you and you’re trying to concentrate and it’s 85 degrees, that’s hard. So it definitely affects the learning environment. And some classrooms at M-A are also small, so it’s definitely hot.”
Referring to the heatwave earlier this month, she said, “That week, week and a half we had was unbearable, right? So I want to make sure that everyone knows that this is a priority for us to make sure that you know you’re able to learn in a comfortable space.”