Heat continues to force Columbia schools to release early

Sep 4, 2012

Wednesday will be the eighth time -- since the school year began less than a month ago -- that some students at Columbia public schools are dismissed early because of the heat.

Jefferson and West Junior High schools don’t have air conditioning. Five Columbia elementary schools had units installed during the summer. But, Michelle Baumstark, spokesperson for Columbia Public Schools, says it may take more than a year to complete the remaining two schools.

“These are our two largest projects -- the most complicated projects that we have as far as HVAC and air conditioning is concerned," she says. "So it’s taken us a little bit longer to do it but we want to make sure we do it right.”

Jefferson Junior High is 102 years old and three stories tall, which makes installing an air conditioning system difficult.  Installation is hoped to be completed by the year 2014. The school district hopes to have air conditioning in West Junior High by next summer. Request for bids on both schools are planned for October.