The K-Wing: warm classroom temperatures persist into the colder months, students and teachers alike are frustrated

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Credit: Brianna English

Junior Isabel Ricardo-Ramirez came into Brianna English’s classroom with a small fan that plugs into her computer. This plug-in fan helps her regulate the hot temperature of the windowless K3 classroom.

Chloe Rathbun, Chief Copy Editor

As the temperature outside gets colder and snow falls on the ground, students bundle up to face the frigid temperatures outside. However, upon their arrival to school, many students are faced with classrooms that are upwards of 75 degrees, some breaching the 80’s. 

Since the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, classroom temperatures in the K-Wing have been significantly warmer than the rest of the school. 

Many classrooms in the K-Wing are windowless, with no reprieve from the uncomfortable heat. 

“I brought in a fan and they gave me another fan so that’s helped, to overall get some airflow in here… but I’d love a window,” said social studies teacher Lewis Ezekiel, who instructs classes everyday in K-2.

There are nine classrooms in the K-Wing under similar conditions. Spanish teacher Madeline De Leon-Villanueva’s room also has an obvious lack of fresh air.

“In my classroom there are no windows to open, and the fans are just pushing around the hot air,” said De Leon-Villanueva. 

Without proper ventilation, fans provided by the teachers and school administration are rendered virtually useless, not to mention the distracting noises of multiple fans running. 

According to teachers in the central K-Wing, temperatures have ranged from 75 degrees to a staggering 84 degrees by the end of the day.

“It was unbearable: it was 84 degrees. We would be out in the hallway, we’d go to other classrooms, we literally couldn’t work in here,” said Spanish teacher Marta Grabowski. 

Another issue brought about by the heat is that it’s been getting very uncomfortable to work in many classrooms. Some teachers have even had to find teachers willing to lend their classrooms out during their plan periods.  

“That’s not a reasonable expectation, that teachers have to find comfortable learning atmospheres for their students in a school where we don’t have empty rooms,” said English teacher Brianna English, “It’s placing an additional burden on teachers.”

Social Studies teacher Rebecca Layton agrees, pointing out the additional strain of having over 30 students in an unventilated classroom. 

“When you ask class to continue as normal, and there’s 36 people in a windowless room and it’s 81 degrees, that’s not really realistic,” said Layton.

Many students coming into these warm classrooms struggle with staying comfortable in extreme conditions. 

According to a survey conducted by Knight Life with 88 respondents, students have noticed extreme temperatures in the K-Wing. 

 

Over 90% of the respondents who have classes in the K-Wing have noticed moderate to hot temperatures.

Throughout the school, temperatures range wildly. From the K-Wing to the A-Wing, many students are unsure of how to regulate their temperatures to stay comfortable.

“Temperatures are really unpredictable, so I don’t know if I should dress for it to be like a furnace or a freezer,” wrote senior Nina Holm. 

Teachers have noticed this as well, with many of their students coming in with coats on to protect from the frigid outside air, just to be overheated when they come into the building.

“I don’t understand why so many of my students wear coats when it’s so hot,” said Ezekiel. 

From one classroom to another, the temperature may range from high 60’s to low 80’s. Some students are turning to alternative methods to regulate their temperature.

“I have a girl who sits back there that brings a fan she plugs into her computer everyday,” said English. 

A lot of student frustration falls on the teachers, since they don’t have anyone else to voice their complaints to.

“Every single day I have to tell them I’m sorry and that I have no potential solution for them, no day that I can tell them it’ll be fixed by,” said English, “I can’t explain why it is the way it is or when it’ll be better.”

Loy Norrix Teachers Union Representative Tisha Pankop isn’t sure when it’ll be fixed either. 

“Last year I filed a grievance due to the extreme temperatures particularly in the K-Wing after the air conditioning went out,” said Pankop.

That particular grievance was resolved with a chiller unit placed outside of Norrix to regulate the temperatures inside the building. However, after temperatures dropped into the 70’s that unit was removed.

Now that it’s winter, the heat has been turned back on in the building leading to increased temperatures in the school. 

“Fixing the boiler to evenly distribute heat throughout this building has not been addressed,” said Pankop. “We’ve been told by facilities that they’re putting in new thermostats. We were told a month ago. They have not yet done that.”

As of Dec. 1, facilities have switched the heat from automatic to manual mode in the K-Wing. This will require facilities to be on call to adjust heat manually based on weather conditions.