UPDATE (3:42 p.m.)—From the main office of Seven Oaks Elementary School Friday morning, Principal Carol Wingard made a long-hoped-for announcement: Baltimore County will install air conditioning in the school's classrooms in 2013.
"I heard the students all go 'yay!' We are very pleased," Wingard said.
The installation will not only alleviate heat, but also humidity, which she said was especially uncomfortable in the first week of school.
"We have a fan, sometimes two fans, in every classroom and it's still stifling," she said. "The way the school is faced, the sun really beats down on us."
School administrators, parents and other volunteers had "voiced a desire" for air conditioning, but not actively campaigned for it, she said, adding, "it's been on our wish list."
Wingard has not been notified of the expected installation date or projected cost.
County Councilman David Marks also announced plans to air condition Seven Oaks Friday morning. Installation will be funded by the school system through an energy performance contract program, he said.
As recent as April, Patch reported that no Perry Hall schools had been scheduled to receive air conditioning through 2014. A total of four elementary schools serving the Perry Hall area—Joppa View, Kingsville, Chapel Hill and Seven Oaks—currently do not have air conditioned classrooms.
Seven Oaks opened in 1991 and is one of the community's newest elementary schools. Joppa View opened in 1990, Chapel Hill opened in 1962 and Kingsville opened in 1954.
A recently released priority list of 47 county schools included Joppa View (38th), Kingsville (18th) and Chapel Hill (30th), but came with no timeline for completion. The list ranked non-air conditioned schools, for which the school system was not already seeking funding.
Seven Oaks is one of four elementary schools—joining Carroll Manor, Lutherville Lab and Elmwood—that will be funded under phase one of an energy performance contract program, according to Marks, who confirmed the development with Baltimore County Public Schools.
Schools officials were not immediately available to comment on the program Friday morning.
Marks said the planned air conditioning for Seven Oaks was the result of "bipartisan work."
"When Senator Klausmeier and Delegates Boteler, Bromwell, and Cluster and I went to the school's volunteer breakfast last spring, it was clear that air conditioning needed to be a top priority at the school," Marks stated in an email to Patch.
"This is great news as we work to get all of Baltimore County's schools air conditioned, particularly those in the Perry Hall area," he added.
Do you agree with bringing air conditioning into one of the area's youngest schools, rather than the oldest? Share your thoughts in the comments.