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Valley Roundup | Valleywide

Gyms at 5 Area Schools to Get Air Conditioning

April 04, 1999|KRISTINA SAUERWEIN

Hoping to offer relief from summer heat, the Los Angeles Board of Education announced plans last week to install air conditioners in gymnasiums at five year-round schools in the San Fernando Valley and at 29 others districtwide.

Led by school board member Julie Korenstein, the board unanimously approved $8 million to cool down gyms, where students and faculty have had to exercise in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, without air circulation or windows.

"It's not a luxury, it's a necessity," said Korenstein, who represents portions of the Valley. "It's a health and safety issue. It will reduce the risk of heat exposure. During the summer, students use the gym to escape the heat, and the gym is just as bad as outside."

Most Los Angeles schools either have air conditioners in the classroom or are having them installed within the next three years. School officials said they hoped the gymnasium air conditioners, estimated to cost $235,000 each, would be running by summer next year.

Valley schools receiving air conditioners include Maclay Middle School in Pacoima, Sun Valley Middle School, San Fernando High School, Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley and Monroe High School in North Hills.

"I am ecstatic," Monroe Principal Joan Elam said. "Students are always using the gymnasium, all day, and they have complained about it during June, July and August," she said. "Some students weren't able to exercise at all because it would get so unbearably hot. It wasn't safe."

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