WCPSS interim superintendent addresses AC issues as 2023-24 school year starts

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Saturday, August 26, 2023
WCPSS address AC issues as 2023-24 school year starts
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Wake says HVAC problems have impacted about 40 schools this summer.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As some parents savor or countdown the last few days before the start of a new school year, there are concerns if schools are ready to welcome back students.

The brand new $90 million Northern High School in Durham is pushing back the first day of school from Monday to Thursday.

There were construction delays and teachers needed more time to prep classrooms.

In Wake County, some HVAC units have struggled to handle the brutal hot weather.

"With the heat, it's a danger. You can't learn when it's too hot," said Wake parent Christian Johnson. "There's no retention and I feel bad for the teachers who have to sit through a class of 20 students."

Wake Interim Superintendent Dr. Randy Bridges is acknowledging there have been problems.

He says it's been hard getting parts for repairs and there are not enough bodies to help maintain 200 facilities, 500 boilers, 300 chillers, and 5,600 parts.

"Sometimes parts are ordered. It takes a long time to get here. You don't have the staff to put the parts in in the machinery. So it's just a cyclical thing," said Bridges. "We're down about seven positions there. So we've had to fight and put those fires out as we could. But as a result, some of our schools have missed early releases this summer."

Wake says HVAC problems have impacted about 40 schools this summer.

Southeast Raleigh High School was forced to close twice this week because of AC issues

Nikki Wood says it's not the first time.

"Always (happens)," she said.

Wood's four oldest kids graduated from Southeast, but one of the reasons she transferred her youngest out of the school was the ongoing AC issue.

More Back-to-School stories on ABC11

"He's at Garner Magnet and we're very happy," said Wood.

Bridges is hopeful things will run well next week.

"Temperatures have come down a little bit next week, hopefully," said Bridges.

Road rules to get students to school and home safely

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