With heat wave this week, here’s the status of AC in LBUSD schools

With temperatures in the 90s on Wednesday, the first day of class for Long Beach Unified School District students, there are still more than 20 elementary, middle and high schools with either partial or no air-conditioning in the district, as work continues on a timeline that goes until the end of the decade.

Temperatures will continue to soar well into the 80s next week as teachers at many schools still rely on fans, water breaks, open doors and windows, shade trees outdoors and other means to knock down temperatures a degree or two.

According to the district’s website on renovation and construction projects funded by bond measures E and  K, schools still awaiting full heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) installation include Bancroft Middle School and Holmes Elementary School, both of which are scheduled to have air-conditioning ready by next summer, and Avalon K-12 in Catalina, which will be cooled by winter 2023.

Voters in 2016 approved the $1.5 billion Measure E to fund HVAC and turf fields and other athletic facilities. Voters passed the $1.2 billion Measure K to modify some campus facilities and renovate or build some smaller campuses such as Sato Academy and Browning High School.

In November, voters will decide on Measure Q, which would raise $1.7 billion to update older classrooms and to improve plumbing systems, remove lead paint and asbestos, provide safe drinking water and meet accessibility requirements for people with disabilities.

The timeline for installation continues through 2029. Following are the expected school years of HVAC installation completion at the remaining schools still grappling with heat in the classrooms:

2024-2025: Birney Elementary, Emerson Elementary, Gompers Elementary.

2025-2026: Stanford Middle School, Washington Middle School, Millikan High School.

2026-2027: Gant Elementary, Los Cerritos Elementary, Tincher Preparatory.

2027-2028: Carver Elementary, Marshall Middle School.

2028-2029: Buffum Total Learning Center, Burroughs Head Start, Henry Elementary, Hoover Middle School.

2029-2030: Sato Academy, Monroe Elementary, Tucker Special Education, Beach Elementary.

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Tim Grobaty is a columnist and opinions editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his newspaper career at the Press-Telegram in 1976 as a copy boy and moved on to feature writer, music critic, TV critic, copy editor and daily columnist. He’s the author of several books, including I’m Dyin’ Here, and he lives in Long Beach.
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