Help coming to school with little to no heat

By Crystal Britt

FREDERICKTOWN, MO (KFVS) - Imagine going to school wearing hats, coats and layers of clothes inside the classroom.  The Fredericktown R-1 School District continues to deal with aging heating and cooling systems. That's not a cheap fix, but change is coming thanks to a recently approved tax levy increase.

Friday's a shortened day at Fredericktown High School. There's not as much time for students to think about the lack of heat.
"It's pretty cold," said Amber Watson, Fredericktown 10th grader.
"Everyday I go up and hover around that heater up there," said Matthew Brite, Fredericktown 11th grader.
"I'm pretty sure Mrs. Parker's room is the coldest," said Amber Watson.
Mrs. Parker tends to agree.
"Very cold, I'm a cold natured person anyway. So, when they told me my room was the coldest room that did not make me happy," said Tracie Parker, high school history teacher. 
"There were cold days in late December and January where we had classrooms in the high 50's low 60's everyday," said Superintendent Kelly Burlison. 
Superintendent Burlison says three heating units in the school don't work at all, and the others have just about had it.
"Each year it gets progressively a little worse," said Burlison. "The units, some of the units we have in the high school are originals and we put students in the building in 1977." 
As for other concerns..."It's wet...walking down the hallway having mini pools, water dripping through...mold," said Steven Crowell, Fredericktown 10th grader.
There are some serious leaking problems in classrooms and hallways. The high school principal also showed Heartland News a locker room where a sagging tile burst after recent heavy rains. It's a pretty common occurrence. It happened outside the gym and in the cafeteria too.
"You know how leaking is. You think you've got the hole stopped and it's not. One hole causes another some place else so we know we're going to have to repair parts of our roof," said Burlison. 
They are some big time projects, and it's all possible since voters said yes in a pretty close election to raise the tax levy.
"It was close and we knew it would be. With the economy like it is that would be tough on some people, but the community came through," said Burlison. 
Students and staff couldn't be happier the measure passed.
"I'm glad that everything will get back to normal," said Steven Crowell. 
"Hopefully by next winter we won't be cold anymore," said Tracie Parker. 
The average property owner in the district will pay about $100 extra a year starting next January.
The superintendent says repairs should start at the end of this school year.  Other improvements will be made as well, including an expansion of the parking lot at the intermediate school as well as upgrades to wiring and more.