Broken AC unit has Wake County students feeling the heat

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Broken AC units in a Wake County school has parents worried for their children (WTVD)

Elementary school students at one Wake County school have been feeling the heat in the classroom.

One parent of a Laurel Park Elementary student reached out to ABC11 after she said the temperature inside her daughter's second floor classroom reached over 81 degrees Thursday.

"She has come home a number of days with a headache," said Kim Hartshorn. "She's lethargic, laying out on the couch just exhausted from her day and she's talking about how warm it is and how hot they are."

Hartshorn said her daughter's teacher ended up moving the class to another room on the first floor, but that the alternative wasn't much cooler.

"Sitting long-term in a hot room with only fans and you can't even open the windows to take advantage of the breeze today," said Hartshorn of the conditions she said began two weeks ago.

On July 18, one week after students returned for the start of year-round school, school staff sent parents an email asking they send their children to class with a fan they could share, explaining the A/C stopped working that day.

Lisa Luten, WCPSS spokesperson, released the following statement Friday:

Our facilities team works with schools to provide a comfortable environment for staff and students, especially when temperatures are elevated. Staff has been closely monitoring building temperatures at Laurel Park Elementary and making accommodations for classrooms when necessary.
Throughout this month technicians have been dispatched to the school to repair an air conditioning unit that was not functioning properly. The AC unit was shutting down at unexpected times during the school day.

Currently the air conditioning unit is functioning and the building is comfortable. The air-conditioning unit will, however, need additional repairs. We're in the process of working with engineers to design a long-term solution that will ensure Laurel Park teachers and students have a comfortable environment to teach and learn.

School board member Bill Fletcher told ABC11 various problems with the HVAC at Laurel Park Elementary started three years ago.

Fletcher said the last time the unit failed in June of 2015, he told a teacher operating budgets for maintenance were tight. After this latest glitch however, Fletcher said the faulty HVAC will quickly climb to the top of the priority list. He said engineers are now looking at what it would take to replace it.

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