‘Hallelujah:’ CMS prepares to replace HVAC units in mobile classrooms at 18 schools

CMS says repairs will take anywhere from four to six weeks.
Cool relief is on the way to dozens of teachers at nearly 20 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 11:16 PM EDT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Cool relief is on the way to dozens of teachers at nearly 20 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

Board members unanimously approved the consent agenda at Wednesday night’s board of education meeting, which included the approval of replacing HVAC units in mobile classrooms in 18 schools.

Leslie Neilsen teaches at one of the approved schools, Community House Middle School, and says the entire first month of the school year has been sweltering.

“From the very second I stepped into my trailer on the first teacher workday I was like something is not right in here,” she said. “I was in the same trailer last year; it was very comfortable in my room, and it’s just been really warm and uncomfortable in there all year.”

Neilsen says her mobile classroom has reached upwards of 82 degrees.

In August, a $104,066.86 bid was approved to replace HVAC units in mobile classrooms at 18 schools. Carolina Air Solutions will be doing the replacements.

Neilsen couldn’t help but shout when she learned her classroom would be getting a new HVAC unit.

“Hallelujah,” she sang happily.

The list of schools is:

  • Ardrey Kell High School
  • Ballantyne Elementary School
  • Beverly Woods Elementary School
  • Blythe Elementary School
  • Community House Middle School
  • Elon Park Elementary School
  • Greenway Park Elementary School
  • Hidden Valley Elementary School
  • Idlewild Elementary School
  • Mallard Creek High School
  • McKee Road Elementary School
  • Merry Oaks Elementary
  • Mountain Island Lake Academy
  • Park Road Montessori
  • Pineville Elementary School
  • Sterling Elementary School
  • University Meadows Elementary School
  • Winterfield Elementary School

Neilsen says the humidity, combined with warmer outdoor temperatures, has made it uncomfortable and led to the growth of mold and fungi in some parts of the school.

“We need our students to be in the best possible learning environments and of course, the health and well-being of our teachers need to be top of mind too,” she said.

At the end of the day, Neilsen says it’s not just keeping them cool, but maintaining a healthier and safer environment.

“You can’t open a window in a mobile classroom, so your only option is to open a door which is also a safety issue. We have to strike a balance between what’s best for us at the moment and what’s best for us in the long run and this is definitely a step forward for what’s best in the long run.”

Other teachers in CMS say their media rooms and classrooms haven’t had properly working A/C at other schools including Myers Park High School, Cochrane Collegiate Academy, and Eastway Middle.

On September 9, CMS said five BARD units were replaced at Ardrey Kell High School and crews replaced a fan motor in the B hall, and airflow was restored in the B wing.

On September 9, CMS said it was in the process of fixing belt alignment issues in the cafeteria at Community House Middle, and replacing HVAC units in two mobile classrooms which were expected to be completed by the end of the month.

On September 20, CMS said Myers Park High School had two buildings with issues in the SET Bldg. and the LA Bldg. A contractor was dispatched to address the issues with these buildings and resolved all reported issues.

CMS says the HVAC repairs at the 18 schools will begin immediately and are expected to take four to six weeks.

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