Davis School District works to keep students cool during heat wave

Aug 30, 2022, 7:08 PM

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah — As temperatures climbed into the upper 90’s Tuesday, fans and swamp coolers lined the hallways and classrooms at a school in the Davis School District.

The district said since voters passed a bond in 2015, they have managed to install air conditioning units in most of the classrooms across the county. Sunset Junior High School is relying almost completely on more than 30 swamp coolers and dozens of fans.

“We do all those things to try and compensate for these extreme temperatures that we currently have,” said Doug Anderson, director of utility services with the district.

The district said there are currently AC projects underway at four other schools. And some schools — like Clearfield High School — have units in their classrooms but none in their common areas like gyms and auditoriums.

“This time of year and the end of each school year, you start to hear about heat,” Nike Peterson said.

She’s reminded of her daughter’s message to her at the end of last school year as she was sitting in her classroom at Clearfield High.

“She said, ‘Mom, I’m good on grades, I’m good on attendance, but it’s 84 degrees in my classroom. Can I bounce?’ I said, ‘You bet.’”

Peterson voted for the 2015 bond, but she worries too much of the money went to building new schools like the high school in Farmington, while old schools like Clearfield and Sunset Jr. High School were left behind. And she believes air conditioning is one example of that.

“Students in these communities here in Sunset and other title one schools are immediately disadvantaged compared to other students in Davis County.”

Anderson said a proposed $475 million bond would allow them to have AC in 100% of their 91 schools. It would also go toward remodeling older schools like Clearfield and rebuilding Sunset Jr. High, which was built in 1963.

“Our team is focused on creating a safe, learning environment for the students of Davis School District,” he said.

The district said because of the growth in the county and the increase in property values, the bond that’s expected to be on the November ballot would not require an additional tax increase.

When it comes to keeping students cool and comfortable, Anderson said they have also created a system that allows his team to track temperatures inside many classrooms and common areas across the school district remotely.

They’re working to develop that system to notify them when a classroom rises above a certain temperature or when an air conditioning unit breaks.

“With this system, we can do it on the fly and it can give us live feedback.”

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Davis School District works to keep students cool during heat wave