OKLAHOMA CITY-- Open classroom doors in Millwood Public Schools are a security no-no. But it’s one of a few ways they are keep one of the buildings from becoming too cold, a problem some parents are concerned about.
Erma Neal, who is otherwise happy with the school said it is so cold inside that her granddaughter had to stay home from school one day.
"She wore a coat all day in school because she said she was cold."
Administrators confirmed while the classrooms are properly heated, other parts of the K-5 building, like the hallways, that are frigid.
"It’s not the way we want it,” said Christine Harrison, Director of Teaching and Learning.
She gave News Channel 4 a tour, stating, “The hallways should not be cold. Teachers get sick, students get sick, and we want students here ready and willing to learn."
One of the coldest hallways in the building has windows that give an added draft to an already chilly walkway. In a row of wall heaters, only two of them work. They can't be repaired because the technology no longer exists.
The building is more than 50 years old. When freezing temps are in the forecast, the staff has to take extra measures like keeping the classroom doors open and using space heaters. After school each night, the maintenance crew even moves the ceiling tiles so the sprinkler system won't fail in case of a fire.
"And that is also another fear: the pipes bursting,” said Harrison.
So the heater runs all night. But the work doesn't end there... Those tiles have to be put back in place each morning before students arrive the next day.
Harrison said, "Our students, our teachers, they deserve more and they should not have to work, learn, teach in these conditions."
District officials said retrofitting an out of date heating system won't work---only a new building will keep the freezing temps from drifting inside.
"The only way to do this is through a school bond initiative. That's the only way,” said Harrison.
District officials said they are in the very beginning stages of working on bringing the bond issue to tax payers, something they know might not be easy.