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Copper Hills High’s Air Conditioning Fails During Record Heat

Sep 5, 2019, 6:32 PM | Updated: Jul 16, 2023, 3:59 pm

WEST JORDAN, Utah – The air conditioning system at Copper Hills High School broke down this week and Jordan School District officials scrambled to come up with temporary solutions to keep everyone cool.

With record-breaking heat in Utah this week, among the most anxious for a cool-down were the students and staff at the school.

Air conditioner failures tend to happen when the heat is most intense, and that’s exactly what happened Wednesday at Copper Hills.

Highs have been in the upper 90s all week across northern Utah, and temperatures reached 97 degrees in West Jordan Wednesday.

With the heat, officials knew they were going to have a heat problem on their hands Thursday.

Before students even walked in the doors, the school district had set up portable swamp coolers in the halls to try to keep air circulating. They even encouraged teachers to bring in fans.

Students and parents were informed Thursday morning about the problem and told the school would be uncomfortable for the day. Students with medical conditions or heat sensitivity had the option to leave school with parental permission.

“We told students, if you feel uncomfortable and you feel like you just need to go home, let us know and we’ll work with you and your parents and we’ll get you home,” said Sandy Riesgraf, Jordan School District Director of Communications.

Some classes were held in the halls or even outside under shady trees in order to make the day more manageable. Shortly after 1 p.m., as the heat intensified, the district decided to let the students out before last period.

With only one period left in the school day, officials could count this is a full day.

Students tell me it got hot Wednesday afternoon in class and even hotter Thursday.

“I kind of got like tired and lethargic and fell asleep during a couple of classes,” said sophomore Joshua Johnston.

“It just got really hot – I couldn’t concentrate in class,” sophomore Ethan Nebeker said.

“After lunch, we recognized that it’s hard to learn when you’re too hot, when you’re uncomfortable, and it’s hard for teachers,” Riesgraf said. “It’s hard on everyone.”

Earlier Thursday, a massive temporary air conditioner arrived from California. Officials hoped that chilling unit will get the job done until they can rebuild their air-conditioning system in the weeks ahead.

They hope the cooling system will get the job done Friday, but they’ll let students, parents and teachers know if that changes. For now, they’re planning on a regular Friday schedule.

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Copper Hills High’s Air Conditioning Fails During Record Heat