Facebook Twitter

These Denver schools still don’t have air conditioning

Students pass a box fan as they walk out of their gym room. Only the students’ legs are visible.

Students pass a fan in their gym room at KIPP Denver Collegiate High School in 2018.

Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post

School started in Denver on Monday, and with temperatures climbing into the high 80s this week, 48 campuses still don’t have air conditioning.

That’s fewer than the 55 campuses that didn’t have air conditioning in 2020, when Denver Public Schools asked voters to pass a $795 million bond for a slew of projects, including installing air conditioning at 24 schools. Voters overwhelmingly passed the bond.

Hot classrooms are a perennial problem in Denver, where some school buildings are a century old and temperatures in August can reach the high 90s. The district pushed back the first day of school this year by a week to try to mitigate the likelihood of overheated students.

Of the 24 schools slated to get air conditioning with funding from the 2020 bond, work has been completed at seven schools, said Heather Bock, the district’s director of construction.

Work is nearly completed at another eight campuses, Bock said: Manual High, Merrill Middle, McAuliffe International, Ashley Elementary, Columbine Elementary, Knapp Elementary, and two campuses, Rishel and Smedley, that are home to multiple schools, including KIPP Denver Collegiate High School, Math and Science Leadership Academy, Denver Montessori Junior/Senior High School, and Denver Online High School.

That work at those campuses has been held up by supply chain issues but is scheduled to finish in late fall, Bock said.

Work to install air conditioning is set to start next summer at another nine schools, she said: Thomas Jefferson High, Denver Green School, Steele Elementary, Polaris Elementary, Cowell Elementary, Sabin World Elementary, Denison Montessori, Stedman Elementary, and Carson Elementary.

That will leave 31 schools without air conditioning or plans to install it. Those schools are:

  • North High School
  • Bryant-Webster Dual Language School
  • Denver Language School (two campuses)
  • Hamilton Middle School
  • Skinner Middle School
  • Slavens K-8 School
  • STRIVE Prep Sunnyside Middle School
  • Asbury Elementary School
  • Bradley International School
  • Brown International Academy
  • Cory Elementary School
  • Doull Elementary School
  • Edison Elementary School
  • Ellis Elementary School
  • Godsman Elementary School
  • Goldrick Elementary School
  • Gust Elementary School
  • Johnson Elementary School
  • Lincoln Elementary School
  • McMeen Elementary School
  • Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment
  • Next Steps at Barrett
  • Park Hill Elementary School
  • Steck Elementary School
  • Stephen Knight Center for Early Education
  • Teller Elementary School
  • Traylor Academy
  • University Park Elementary School
  • University Prep (two campuses)

Melanie Asmar is a senior reporter for Chalkbeat Colorado, covering Denver Public Schools. Contact Melanie at masmar@chalkbeat.org.

The Latest
The district is exempt from the law because its health plans are self-funded. However, some large employers have provided coverage for fertility treatment.
A five-year federal grant aims to improve Colorado schools’ family engagement, with training for parents and a real voice in school decisions.
The 5280 Freedom School plans to open next fall with kindergarten and first grade, and add grades each year up to fifth grade.
Jeffco, Adams 12, Colorado Springs 11, and Greeley-Evans are some of the districts receiving grants.
One student called Denver Public Schools’ actions “an example of performative support of student activism.”
Los niños que hablan español u otros idiomas en el hogar y los provenientes de familias con menos recursos probablemente serán elegibles para 20 horas semanales de preescolar gratis.