The Los Angeles Unified School District is in the process of tackling $342 million in bond-funded critical heating and air conditioning repair projects, with nearly a third, or about $107 million, earmarked for the San Fernando Valley, where the L.A. area’s hottest temperatures often occur.
“We have 33,000 classrooms. All of them are air-conditioned,” Mark Hovatter, the LAUSD’s chief facilities executive, told the Los Angeles Daily News Friday. “Of those 33,000 classrooms, we get a lot of trouble calls.”
On a recent weekday morning, Hovatter’s office already had received 776 calls for service, a third of them in the Valley, and it wasn’t yet noon, the Daily News reported. A typical school day might see 200 such calls, but the number this day was higher as custodians cleaning classrooms in preparation for the start of school checked air-conditioning units.
“Most of the air conditioning that we’re getting trouble calls on now are for units that are in excess of 25 years old,” Hovatter said. “So we池e already five, six, seven years beyond the expected useful life for a large number of the air-conditioning units.
The need to upgrade these systems has been growing, and the amount the district spends on overtime work for emergency fixes has been rising, too. In 2015, LAUSD spent about $400,000 on overtime for system repairs by district staff; that rose to $670,000 last year, Hovatter told the newspaper.
The list of projects is long. The two largest are at Valley schools: a $17.2 million system at Richard E. Byrd Middle School in Sun Valley and a $12.5 million project at Van Nuys Elementary School, both slated to finish in 2021, the Daily News reported. Some schools, like Byrd Middle School, need a complete new system.
The last projects are expected to wrap up in 2022, but about three- fourths of the 67 schools on the list for repairs and new systems are scheduled to have the work done by the end of 2020, according to the Daily News. Projects at a dozen district schools have been completed, and projects at 26 schools are under construction now.
—City News Service
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