Central’s air conditioning plans set in motion

Sweltering classrooms will soon be a distant memory for Central students, because the school has just been approved to undergo some major renovations this summer, including the addition of air conditioning.

The District 86 board recently voted to approve renovation plans that have been in the works for about two years for Hinsdale Central and Hinsdale South. Along with the new air conditioning for the whole school, Central will also be getting new instructional spaces, an improved drop-off and pick-up system, a more secure main entrance, and increased electrical capacity so new technology can be utilized.

“These are very basic things; we’re not doing any fluffy enhancements,” said Dr. Nicholas Wahl, District 86 superintendent.

Air conditioning is something that many students, including Katherine Kiang, sophomore, have hoped for since coming to Central. “Central is one of the best schools in the nation, but there are schools out there in more rural areas…that have air conditioning, yet we don’t,” Kiang said. At times, Kiang has found the temperatures inside Central to be nearly unbearable. “For the first two weeks of school last year, my English class was not able to be in our classroom because it was so hot.”

Wahl agrees that Central desperately needs air conditioning. “For us to expect students to perform at their best in conditions that aren’t the best doesn’t make sense,” Wahl said.

“Our goal is to take the projects out to bid this winter and construct next summer, so they’re ready in the fall,” Wahl said. The projects will cost almost $18 million total for both schools.

One major reason why air conditioning is so important for Central is because of how hot the school can get during AP exams in May and during second semester finals. Many of Kiang’s classes last year had to take their second semester finals in unfamiliar rooms because it was too hot in their usual classrooms. “You’re used to being in that classroom when you learn, and if you’re not in that same room for your final you’re out of your element,” Kiang said.

While students will have to brave the heat one more time this year, they certainly will have plenty to look forward to in the upcoming school year. “It’s really going to improve the environment for the students every day,” Wahl said.