Indiana is notorious for many things, but it is commonly associated with its ever-changing weather. Anyone in the state can agree that dramatic weather changes are just something to expect. Scottsburg is no different.
With this in mind, the heating and cooling system (HVAC) at SHS has similar attributes. While it may not change dramatically without warning, it does not always blow the preferred temperature of air. When the outside temperature changes drastically, the inside temperature can not keep up. It is difficult to quickly heat or cool an entire building. According to Mr. Bob Riley, SCSD2 Maintenance & Transportation Director, the HVAC system is switched from air to heat in late fall to avoid the expensive chance of splitting pipes or ruining coils in the chiller.
“These chillers can run up to $500,000 so it is something you do not leave to chance. Once the chiller is winterized there is no cooling, so if we have an 80 degree day in November we will just have hot rooms,” said Riley.
Many teachers face the difficulty of a temperamental HVAC unit in their classrooms. While many teachers believe their thermostat is meant to control the actual temperature of the classroom, it is not the case. The thermostat has about a four degree leeway, but they do not run off of electric at the high school – they run off of air pressure. According to Riley, this means the thermostats should be set and left alone.
The fall and spring are usually the worst seasons to bear at SHS. This is because students do not know how to prepare for the change in temperature. Senior Katie Stout has one piece of advice for students in these situations.
“Always wear layers. In one classroom, you may need a jacket, but in others it is too hot in just a Tshirt. Certain classrooms are the worst, like Mrs. Stuckwisch’s,” said Stout.
According to Mr. Riley, the school district is trying to find a fix to these problems and complaints. With parts up to 45 years old and constant repairs having to be made, something big had to be done.
“We are planning on a two million dollar mechanical renovation at the high school this summer. The system is 20 years past its life expectancy. We are hoping to get a new chiller and classroom units along with some roofing. This could take up to a year to complete,” said Riley.
As with any project in a school district, the funds are limited. Principals throughout SCSD2 must budget according to the necessity of different items. For now, students and faculty alike will have to overcome the unpredictable Indiana weather, coupled with the unpredictable SHS temperature.
“We know our systems are old, parts are almost impossible to find sometimes. The state has cut school budgets which impacts everything from teachers to equipment. We do the best we can with the monies we have on hand,” said Riley.