An air conditioning feasibility study commissioned by Lake Zurich Unit District 95 shows it could cost $19 million to $25 million to chill five schools.
District 95 school board members reviewed the report during a meeting Thursday night. The study was prepared by RuckPate Architecture of Barrington with assistance from Schaumburg-based 20/10 Engineering Group.
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Five of eight District 95 schools are not centrally air-conditioned, which led to some parental concern when a heat wave hit early this academic year. Heat concerns also were expressed in emails sent by Kathy Perkins, president of the Lake Zurich Education Association union and an instructor at Sarah Adams Elementary School.
At Thursday's meeting, elected officials received a presentation on the air-conditioning feasibility study from RuckPate Vice President Frederick Schuster. The study says the $19 million to $25 million price range covers different ways to air-condition the five schools.
"And that (estimate) is including construction fees, contingency and associated costs," Schuster told the school board. "That is intended to be a full, bottom-line number."
Schuster also said the district has "limited-scope options," including air conditioning for an estimated $1.6 million in the gymnasiums and cafeterias in the five buildings.
Seth Paine Elementary School, Isaac Fox Elementary School, May Whitney Elementary School, Middle School South and Sarah Adams, all in Lake Zurich, don't have central cooling systems.
Middle School North and Spencer Loomis Elementary School, both in Hawthorn Woods, and Lake Zurich High School are the three buildings with air conditioning.
In an email sent to union building representatives Aug. 27, Perkins asked them to track classroom temperatures and put thermometers in hallways.
She also sent an email Sept. 10 that, in part, had expressed concern about classrooms with temperatures in the 90s.
"Because we don't have language in our contract about room temps (believe me, this will be in the contract language for the next negotiations!), the association really has no power and all I can do is encourage the administration to make the decision for early release," Perkins said in the email obtained through a Daily Herald Freedom of Information Act request. "Trust me, I wish I could do more."
Parent Andrea Trudeau of Kildeer launched an online petition to push for air conditioning after most of the week of Aug. 26 featured temperatures in the 90s. She and other parents brought their concerns to a September board meeting.
Efforts to keep students comfortable in the extreme heat included rotating them into limited air-conditioned areas in the five schools, using large fans, opening windows for cross ventilation, and making cold water and ice pops available for hydration.