Air Conditioning Repairs Underway After Coosa County School Closure

Tuesday was another day of intense heat in Alabama. It was so hot an entire school system had to shut its doors.

Classes were canceled in Coosa County, where school officials say some rooms of the high school were reaching temperatures above 90-degrees. It's a story WSFA 12 News broke first on line.

Work is now underway to repair an aging air conditioning system.  The 20-year-old piece of machinery uses three diesel compressors to cool the air. When two of the compressors failed, the decision was made to cancel class.

"We've had problems with this system for years," said Superintendent Todd Wingard.

But even before the outage, Wingard says the heat was taking its toll.

"We have had some reports of students with heat related illnesses," he said. "We had one physical education teacher who was taken to the emergency room."

The school system rented two 5-ton portable air conditioners, which were installed Tuesday afternoon. In the meantime, a new compressor for this outdated cooling system is on order. School officials say they expect it to be installed by Friday.

At a cost of $50,000, the financial effects of the purchase will linger long after the heat is gone.

"These unexpected break downs are quite a burden," Wingard said. His school system is among those that receive no sales tax revenue.

To save money, school officials also chose to shut down the county's elementary and middle schools. That way, they didn't have to run the bus system.

The superintendent said all schools were expected to reopen on Wednesday.

Reporter: Mark Bullock