DeKalb County Schools face heating issues

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DeKalb County Schools has taken a lot of heat over a number of cold classrooms. When frigid weather settled in this week, H-VAC systems in almost 20 buildings failed to keep some classroom warm.

“It was concerning because there was no heat and it was getting cold,” says Laurel Ridge Elementary parent Cornelio Delasalas. “By the time Monday or Tuesday rolled around there were already H-VAC, DeKalb County H-VAC maintenance men fixing it.”

The school system says approximately 100 of its 2,500 classrooms or learning spaces were affected.

“Sometimes it's a wing in the building or a set of rooms,” DeKalb County Schools Superintendent Dr. R. Stephen Green told FOX 5's Kerry Charles. “We're watching it very closely.”

Dr. Green says the school system didn't know which units had problems until the temperatures dropped. He says if the problems happen during the next cold snap, workers will quickly respond. This time around space heaters who delivered to some classrooms. In a worst-case scenario, he says students can be relocated to other buildings.

DeKalb County Schools address the heating issue at a community forum held Thursday night, On Scene with Dr. Green. A representative told the audience, although 18 workers were hired this year, the maintenance department is understaffed. That representative didn't go into specifics but says the school system has a three-year plan to bring on new hires.

The school system provided FOX 5 with updates on the progress to repair units at schools affected:

  • Laurel Ridge ES (1 room; to be completed next week)
  • Clarkston HS - Boiler up and running. Complete
  • Salem MS – Complete
  • Chapel Hills ES (4 rooms; to be completed 11/29)
  • Chapel Hill MS (12 rooms) 10 rooms complete
  • Bob Mathis ES – Complete
  • Browns Mill ES (multi-purpose building; to be completed 11/30)
  • DeKalb Elem. School for the Arts (working)
  • International Student Center (5-6 rooms plus front office; to be completed 11/29)
  • Arabia Mountain HS (10-15 rooms; contractor on site, to be completed 11/28)
  • Sequoyah MS – Complete
  • Smoke Rise ES - Only 1 room down
  • Stephenson HS – Complete
  • Wadsworth ES (5-6 rooms down; assessing timeframe)
  • Online Registration – Complete
  • Druid Hills MS (media center only; assessing timeframe)
  • Princeton ES – Complete
  • Towers HS (5-7 classrooms; assessing timeframe)