CHARLESTON, W.Va. - East Bank Middle School Principal Mike Wilkinson is excited about the more than $5 million in renovations slated for his facility.
But the new air conditioning system planned for the notoriously toasty school has Wilkinson, the students and staff especially excited.
"Ever since I've been here, mainly the air conditioner works when it wants to," said Wilkinson, who has been at the school for three years.
He said veteran teachers have learned how to get through days that are "miserable." Excessive heat also affects student learning.
"It's hard for kids to focus anyway, but when you throw heat at them, it makes it more difficult," Wilkinson said.
Chuck Wilson, facilities director for Kanawha County Schools, agrees. The school was built in the 1960s, and he said there hasn't been any upgrade to the air conditioning system. His people have tried to repair it in recent years but the components have just outlived their usefulness.
With the new system, Wilkinson said teachers should be able to have more control of the temperature in individual rooms. It should allow for more comfort throughout the entire year, he said.
Kanawha County officials pledged to address air conditioning issues system-wide with funds from the excess levy. The additional revenue gleaned from the property tax means the county has $20 million to devote to improving school heating and cooling systems.