Published December 11 2013
Forum editorial: It will be ‘cool’ to be in schoolIt might be a challenge to think about steamy August weather when the mercury is flirting with 20 below zero, but that’s what the Fargo School Board did this week. The board voted to spend money to add air conditioning systems to six elementary schools – improvements that also will reduce heating costs.
The decision was prompted in part by the unusual heat and humidity in August just as the new school year was starting. Several schools were shuttered for a few days because conditions were so hot and humid that buildings did not cool down at night. Conditions in classrooms were deemed unsuitable for young children. It was the right call at the time. Moreover, the closure stimulated serious discussion of immediate retrofitting older buildings.
On Tuesday the board gave the go-ahead for design and bidding the projects. Costs could total $12 million, to be paid for by issuing bonds in the amount of $27.7 million, which includes the cost of the new Ed Clapp Elementary School in Ed Clapp Park.
The air conditioning retrofit is a good use of school funds. Not only will it guarantee the late summer start of the school year won’t be interrupted by hot weather, it also extends the life and utility of older neighborhood schools. That’s a priority school district patrons have supported for years.
So, while there will be no more school-cancelling “hot days” beginning in the fall of 2014, kids can still count on a few “snow and cold days” before winter is done. Given this week’s wind chills and the likelihood of a blizzard or two that’s a good bet.
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Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.