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Article updated: 11/18/2013 9:28 AM

District 204 to hear suggestions for schools without A/C

By Marie Wilson

Indian Prairie Unit District 204 board members will hear suggestions Monday for handling hot days in schools without air conditioning as a focus group formed after a heat wave in August and September presents its findings.

Among recommendations are replacing water fountains at elementary schools so they can fill water bottles more quickly; installing ductless air conditioners in all classrooms without full cooling systems; and lowering the threshold temperature calculation required to cancel school.

Administrators will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of these suggestions during a special meeting at 5 p.m. Monday at Crouse Education Center, 780 Shoreline Drive, Aurora. The session will precede a regular board meeting at 7 p.m., and administrators also will address the estimated cost of each option so the board can decide which to pursue.

Water fountain replacement is expected to cost between $28,500 and $47,500 for all elementary schools, while installing ductless air conditioning units in schools without full cooling systems is expected to cost $13.6 million.

The focus group included representation from all 20 schools that do not have building-wide air conditioning. It was formed after District 204 canceled school two days in a row in September and about 25 teachers and parents asked the board to consider ways to keep the buildings cool and safe.

Seven parents, six principals, five teachers, four teaching assistants, four administrators and two student services coordinators comprised the group that gathered and researched possible heat solutions for the district that serves parts of Naperville, Aurora, Bolingbrook and Plainfield.

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