Summer school for Proviso Township High School District 209 will take place at Proviso East High School, as originally planned. On May 12, the school board proposed moving summer school to Proviso Math and Science Academy in Forest Park — the only building in the district with air conditioning. But the board’s request was too late because it involved a change in zoning in Forest Park.
Instead, the district will purchase 30 one-ton spot air-cooling units for $56,850 from Carrier Rental Systems in Bridgeview to use in Proviso East. The 182-pound, self-standing units cool at 12,000 BTUs per hour. The board voted to purchase the units at an emergency meeting on May 28.
The units should help cool down the classrooms used for summer school, said board member Claudia Medina.
“That place is built like a castle. I can understand why they need air conditioners. You can’t even open a window,” she said.
Rob Daniel, community and public relations coordinator for Proviso Township High Schools District 209, told the Forest Park review that the windows at the school do open.
Summer school is moving to Proviso East because of construction taking place at Proviso West. Classes will run from June 8 through July 9 from 8 a.m. to 1:10 p.m.
The plan to use Proviso Math and Science Academy for summer school this year stumbled because the village of Forest Park has a zoning ordinance forbidding the building to be used for “remedial education.” Medina told the board Mayor Anthony Calderone had hinted Forest Park might be willing to amend the ordinance. But the board was slowed by a procedural hiccup: they couldn’t ask attorney Steven Avalos of Del Galdo law group to act on new business without a vote.
Because extra students will be in Proviso East for summer school, according to Tracy Avant-Bey, director of Information Technology, the school is set up to allow some students to use laptops with wireless Wi-Fi during class. The students use the APEX online program for much of summer school work.
During the regular school year, Proviso East has inadequate electrical service to plug in computers needed, said district Finance Director Todd Drafall and building manager Ron Anderson. The school will get an electrical overhaul as part of capital improvements next year.
The spot air-cooling units and laptops will not be running at the same time. The laptops will be charged overnight, Avant-Bey said Monday in an email. Batteries are expected to last five hours, she said.
Board member Kevin McDermott worried the laptops would not have sufficient battery life to be reliable.
“There’s really not much we can do about it,” he said. “There was not enough time to make this all happen this year. If we had started the process a month earlier, we might have been able to have summer school at PMSA.”
This story has been changed to correct the dates for summer school and the date on which the emergency meeting was held. It also includes information from a district spokesman responding to a board member’s contention that windows at Proviso East don’t open.