Schools reopen with high temps and even higher AC costs

Facility managers all over the nation spent the summer scrambling to get schools ready for the fall term—with special attention paid to air conditioning units. Many schools needed to relocate students when air units broke down while outside temperatures soared into triple digits. Facility managers say there is always more need than money, but they get as much done as they can.

Although most modern heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems are designed to run for up to 25 years, replacing one is very expensive. A new unit for an elementary school can cost upwards of $3 million; a middle school system can be closer to $5 million; and for an average-size high school, the cost can be $15 million.

“We’re just not getting the funding,” Jeff Eakins, superintendent of Hillsborough County schools, told the Tampa Bay Times last week. “In some cases we have to make some tough choices.”

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