12 Guilford County schools have heating outages

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GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- We’re feeling some of the coldest weather so far this season and some students are bundled up in classrooms trying to learn without heat.

Parents reached out to FOX8 after learning several Guilford County Schools have heating problems.

A Guilford County Schools spokesperson told FOX8 a dozen schools in the district are having heating problems.

“We have had outages throughout our district and sometimes those are one classroom or two classrooms. Very rarely has it been the entire school,” said Scott McCully, chief operations officer at GCS.

Guilford County Schools has more than $800 million of deferred maintenance. Those are repairs and upgrades that are on hold. It’s a problem FOX8 first reported on this summer after Rankin dismissed students early for a broken air conditioner. Aging heating and cooling systems across the school district are the problem.

“It is about a $1.5 billion upgrade to fix all the problems including and the possibility of replacing schools too,” McCully said.

While there are protocols in place during a heating outage, like moving students to a warmer classroom, parents aren’t happy. Alisha Nieves has a son in kindergarten at Rankin Elementary. She says she never received a notice that the school had heating problems.

“That’s shocking because I didn’t get a notification about it. That explains why he was all bundled up when he came outside,” Nieves said. Her son Elijah told FOX8 his classroom was cold Thursday and one of his teachers had their winter jacket on inside.

Replacing the HVAC in one school costs the district around $2 million. With 12 schools having difficulties, the repairs will be expensive.

“It is unfortunately not a new problem but we want to be able to remedy it as quickly as possible with bond referendum. Please know we are working as hard as we can with the resources we have we are working with all the available contractors we have in this community, and even with that it is not sometimes an instant process, it does take time,” McCully said.

FOX8 was told the heat will be repaired at Rankin Thursday.

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