School District Issues Statement on Condition of RSHS

School District Issues Statement on Condition of RSHS

Rock Springs High School. SweetwaterNOW file photo

ROCK SPRINGS ­— Complaints about temperature control at Rock Springs High School highlight the need for a new high school, according to a statement issued by Sweetwater County School District No. 1.

Complaints about the hot internal temperature inside the building were originally made by parents during the district board of trustees meeting Sept. 11. The statement highlights the issues the high school building has and why the district believes a new building is needed. The statement also echoes a call from Superintendent Kelly McGovern to parents and residents to speak out about the challenges the high school building presents.

“RSHS was designed in the late 1960s and built in 1970 with an old-style indirect evaporative cooling system,” the statement reads. That cooling system design was abandoned over 40 years ago.

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The district’s statement claims the current building can’t support a modern air-conditioning system to cool the entire building, which measures 325,000 square feet. The district has attempted to address the situation over the years through the installation of evaporative coolers in areas constructed in 1971, 1975, 1977, 1981 and 1984. Four more coolers have been ordered, according to the statement, but they are not scheduled to be completed until November as a result of contractor and supply chain issues.

“We understand the delay and the change of seasons but despite our best efforts, this is out of the district’s control,” the statement reads.

Several projects were initiated to address the heating and cooling issue within the building over the years. These include upgrades to the existing evaporated coolers in 2015, a compressor replacement within the air conditioning unit for the lower-level rooms in 2019, and two boilers being replaced behind Tiger Arena Gym in 2022. In June of 2022, the existing air conditioning unit for rooms 410 and 414 were replaced as well.

According to the statement, the projects initiated don’t include work to electrical panels that resulted from electrical fires and wiring issued caused by age and excessive amperage.

The building has had other work completed to help extend the lifespan of the facility, including work to the RSHS pool to keep it capable of hosting competition, replacements to sewer line cracks and roofing work.

Other problems with the building have been highlighted in a report made by an independent engineering firm hired by the district. The building infrastructure was graded between fair and poor condition. The district says students and staff remain safe at RSHS.

“In all, countless items have been repaired, replaced, or added to support the education of our students and working conditions of our staff,” the statement reads.

The district encourages residents to attend the next school board meeting, which takes place Oct. 9 at 6 p.m. at the district central administration building. Additional meetings the district has set take place Oct. 19, at 5 p.m. at the high school’s cafeteria and Nov. 8 at 4:15 p.m., also at the cafeteria.