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Proviso West High School students complain of hot classrooms amid air conditioning system upgrade



HILLSIDE, Ill. (WLS) — Blistering temperatures inside Proviso West High School are prompting complaints and concerns from students.

The school said Wednesday it is trying to update the air conditioning system that some say is not working hard enough to cool things down.

“Every so often you’ll see someone going like this,” senior Justin Conley said, puffing out his T-shirt. “That is how hot it is. You have to carry a stick of deodorant because you were going to be sweaty.”

Proviso West is home to over 1,800 students and in the middle of a district-wide $77 million capital improvement project that includes new air conditioning equipment in classes and chillers in the basement. The 63-year-old complex has a student to teacher ratio of just under 1:19, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

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“Here at Proviso West, we have got bottled water, cases of bottled water available to students and teachers when they need it, where they need it,” said Nicole Wilson, public and community relations officer for Proviso Township High Schools.

Fans are spaced out throughout the building and by request in classrooms. Some heat is being dissipated through open doors and windows – and concerned parents are being asked to exhibit patience.

“We are saying to them, we understand it is hot outside and we are going to do what we can to make sure that there is some degree of comfort,” Wilson said.

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Senior Cierra Neal said it’s “very hard” to study in the sweltering school.

“You need to find a fan or folder to fan yourself,” she added.

“It’s OK on the third floor, but once you get to the second and first it’s a little bit humid,” freshman Jorge Carillo said.

Beyond retrofitting the building, the solution to battling summer heat in the classroom could be not having class in the summer.

“If that is something the state would like to consider, that is something that we would have to consider as a school district,” Wilson said.

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