Middle school start date pushed back for air conditioning installation


Photo by Leman Middle School via Facebook

The ventilation system as Leman Middle School was installed in the 1990s.

By Ray Gonzalez, Reporter

The Facilities and Grounds department at Leman Middle School added air conditioning units throughout the building in August.

As former and current middle schoolers know, the classrooms at Leman Middle School could, at times, reach warm temperatures. The lack of air was a frequent complaint among Chargers, one only recently rectified by adding a cooling system.

The school was founded in 1992, but air conditioning units were not installed at that time. 

Most students who attended the school experienced three years of elevated temperatures during the warmer months, as Leman offers sixth through eighth grade education. 

Leman Middle School - Facebook

The new AC units were added to the classrooms over the summer, after the school was able to save enough funds to both purchase and install air conditioners. The Facilities and Grounds department first tackled the sixth-grade wing of the school because it needed a larger cooler, as this wing is the most sizable of all the locations in the school. 

Another cooler was made for the rest of the school because the seventh and eighth grade wings were too small to have their own independent units. 

Funds were not only used for installation, but also for repairs to the ventilation, specifically necessary in the sixth-grade wing.

“Those unit ventilators we did put in new ones because they were pretty old in 1994,” said Fred Cadena, Director of the Facilities and Grounds department.

Before the air conditioners could be installed, the Facilities Committee in West Chicago School District 33, which approves or denies possible renovations to improve the school’s conditions, had to convene to discuss whether the purchase and process would be worthwhile. 

The committee decided to approve the addition of coolers/air conditioners this year, believing this to be the “right time”, resulting in cool air to be distributed all throughout the hallways starting on August 19 according to the district’s Facebook page.

“This is just one of the projects that came about from our Facilities Committee,” said Cadena.

Their decision resulted in a delay to the school year, however. While Leman’s opening is typically a few days off from nearby West Chicago Community High School’s, this year, the middle school opened on Sept. 6. 

Leman Middle School prepares to install the new air conditioning system. (Photo by Leman Middle School via Facebook)

Those who attended Leman Middle School previously recollected that the warm temperature outside could, historically, have a significant impact on the classroom temperature as well, depending on where a student was located in the building. 

“We were dripping sweat,” said senior Chanel VerVynck, a Leman alum.

Leman alum reported that most teachers would have had a fan or two blasting in the classroom during the spring and early fall months. The blasting of the fans kept the students cool, but relief only occurred if the teacher brought their own device. 

“It was the teacher’s decision as to whether to buy a fan or not,” said VerVynck.

Some were installed in classrooms, but students report that the hottest classrooms were those that had no fans at all. 

“I remember being on the hottest side of the school and having a bunch of fans going at a time to try to keep cool at the beginning of the school year,” said junior Mia Valliquette.

The only places within the middle school that had air conditioners previously were in the library and the offices. 

“We would have to go to the library for breaks,” said Valliquette.

However, the library operated on a policy of its own to limit the time classes could remain in the cooler space. 

“I just remember going to the library a lot because it was so hot. Basically, each period would get a certain amount of time in the library and then they would get sent back and another class would come,” said VerVynck. 

For past and present students and staff, the cooler air in the building is likely a welcome relief.

“Finally, Leman added air conditioners, like three years after having to stay in a hot classroom for seven hours a day,” said junior Luis Castro, also a Leman alum.