Conditioned Failure: AC freezes students in school


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Graphic by Connor McCann ’14

From freezing to hot to everything in between, it is difficult enough to cope with the ever-changing seasons of the Northeast. Now, with Staples’ incomprehensibly stupid air conditioning (AC) system, it is almost impossible.

The AC system creates its own in-school calendar. Instead of daylight savings time, Staples operates under its own two time zones: FST and HST—“Freezing Standard Time” and “Hot Standard Time.” The system is so ridiculous that rumors have swirled around the school that our own AC system is controlled somewhere between Georgia and Arizona.

According to Principal John Dodig, the AC system is overseen here in Westport—the company is based somewhere in the Midwest. And the annoying temperatures? Well, they are hard to control.

“When the school was built, they installed two pipes instead of four to go around the school because installing four would have been too costly,” Dodig said.

These pipes make it impossible to turn on the AC during the spring and the heat during the winter.

While the administration deserves no blame for this, and the previously mentioned monetary reason is legitimate, it does not mean that this problem should be ignored. It might seem irritating to keep griping about the AC system, but people may be underestimating the significance that the faulty AC has on Staples.

Students hate it, teachers moan about it—how about we do something about it? The school is limited in certain ways because of the system itself, but that does not mean we cannot make the best out of a tricky situation.

It seems as if the school is either always at an extreme high temperature or at an extreme low temperature. While the “ideal” temperature varies from student to student, almost everyone can agree that the Staples classrooms were bordering on glacial during much of September and October.

Sadly, it is probably not going to get better. The AC shut off on Oct. 15 and does not come back on until April 15. I don’t know what’s worse: having to bring sweaters to school during the end of summer like we did in September, be cold the whole day like we are now, or literally be in an academic sauna like we will experience in a month.

The administration should decide on a range of temperatures that are suitable for the whole school year (if I had my say, somewhere between 68-72 degrees). This serves as a suitable fix for a faulty system, considering the school is unable to turn on the AC in the middle of February if they wanted.

It seems so obvious to me. I don’t want to wear a jersey to school on that inevitable 50 degree January day, when the school is still 85 degrees inside. While I am currently enamored with it, I don’t want to wear my senior sweatshirt in the middle of April, either.

Getting rid of these “extreme” temperatures should also cost less money, as keeping a consistent number throughout the year is economically sound.

Staples cares a lot about our learning environment—that much is clear. Our classrooms are beautiful, spacious and clean. We have expensive and efficient SMART Boards, and some of the nicest facilities in the country. But how about a comfortable temperature in which we can enjoy these various amenities?

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