District officials are overseeing a complete overhaul of South Oak Cliff High School’s heating and air conditioning systems, which will solve the issue of some classrooms feeling overheated.
As of Monday, the heating issues had been traced to five of the school’s 80 classrooms. The temperature differences are attributed to ongoing testing and implementation of the upgrades to the HVAC system. Moving from a steam-based system to a hydroponic system is expected to be more cost-effective and energy-efficient.
Officials from Dallas ISD’s Construction Services Department, which is overseeing the work by contractors, says the work – which began this past spring – is on schedule to be completed by February. Because school is in session, contractors are working overnight and on weekends to minimize disruptions to instructional time for students. Work will continue during the two weeks of Winter Break.
During a previously scheduled community meeting Monday night at the school, Superintendent Michael Hinojosa discussed the concerns about building conditions. He said safety is the district’s No. 1 priority.
“The board members have been in touch with us about specific issues, and so we had staff here to hear about everybody’s concerns,” Hinojosa said. “Let me be very clear with the public and everyone else: We would not be in this building if the appropriate officials had not determined it was safe for us to do it.”
The $3.8 project is funded by qualified construction bonds, which are making similar projects across the district possible. Voters approved a $1.6 billion bond, with $10.7 million allocated to South Oak Cliff to make roof and plumbing repairs, and accommodate expanded programming for career and technical education and arts programs.