ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA/FOX24) — Fall is starting this week, but it won’t feel like it with temperatures reaching the 90s in Northwest Arkansas.
This may be concerning for some parents in the Rogers Public School District because only one out of its 16 elementary school gymnasiums has air conditioning. The newest one, Fairview Elementary, is the only one that has AC.
Rogers Superintendent Dr. Jeff Perry said this is especially a problem at the beginning and end of school years when temperatures are at their warmest when school is in session, and since the summer season seems to be trending hotter and longer.
He said those 15 gymnasiums don’t have air conditioning because they are older school buildings that have detached gym buildings.
He said as soon as the weather cools down for most of the year, regulating temperatures in the gyms isn’t a problem since they all do have heating. The gyms are insulated to some degree, but he said putting air conditioning in those buildings is a challenging process.
“In some of those situations, it may actually be more economical to actually tear down those structures, and just actually build a facility that’s adjacent to the school and that’s actually connected to the school,” he said.
However, that will require a lot of time to do at every elementary school. With only a finite amount of funding to put towards all the many building maintenance issues that come up, he said it will also require a lot of money.
He expects the district will start to look at next year’s budget for putting money towards updating the gyms.
He also emphasized that the safety of kids is their top priority, and he asked for patience from any concerned parents as they work towards allocating that money.