Schools in Kanawha County, WV struggle with air conditioning pro - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Schools in Kanawha County, WV struggle with air conditioning problems

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SOUTH CHARLESTON, WV -

Some parents are steaming mad because the air conditioners never seem to be working in the buildings where their children attend school. It has been a problem in Kanawha County, West Virginia for years. The school board has invested money to correct the issues in recent years.

"The issue becomes more money and more resources because the needs are so great," said Kanawha County Schools Superintendent Ron Duerring.

In the past two years the county has budgeted close to $23 million using excess levy money to do things like replace units, install solar panels, upgrade controls, clean units and replace parts in over 60 of the county's schools.

"But that is not nearly enough to get everything perfect," Duerring said.

Maintenance Director Terry Hollandsworth said ten employees in his department work only on air conditioning and heating projects.

They have a heavy workload with 4 million square feet of floor space and 2,000 roof top air conditioning units to monitor. Many of those units are decades old.

"You know the schools were built in the 60's and 70's and here we are in 2014 so they are outdated and the parts are hard to find," Duerring explained.

Duerring said unfortunately for now the band-aid approach will have to work.

"There is a future vision of trying to find more money to get the necessary equipment fixed," Duerring said, explaining there is no long term plan to replace all of the old units. "There is just no money in the budget to do that," he said.

Duerring said the budget is tied up with fixed costs, salaries and basic programming in the county's schools.

Hollandsworth said he believes his crews are doing a good job at maintaining what they have to work with and getting the longest life possible out of the existing units.