Thursday, September 12, 2013

Slip Slidin' Away

Amherst Public Schools were closed today due to "slippery floors"

So for those of you hoping Amherst makes international news with a second straight day of school closings due to "slippery floors" I hate to disappoint you, but it looks as though there will be school tomorrow.  Yeah!

A reliable source tells me the floors dried out nicely overnight and although today's weather is not ideal, only a real monsoon with a sudden spike in temperature would change things.  

I'm sure almost all parents will be happy to hear this.  Sorry kids.

The reason why air conditioning did not negate this problem is because the older school buildings are not all that well equipped.  Crocker Farm has the best system because it was the one most recently renovated ($5.6 million project in 2002).  

But all the others leave lots to be desired.  According to my source:

The High School only has AC on the second and third floor via window units.  During the 1997 renovation ($22 million) they did not install central AC in the addition.  The original 1955 portion and 1965 addition have no AC.  So less than 50% of the building has air conditioning.

Wildwood and Fort River have limited AC throughout the entire building.  The systems were put in 1970 and 1972, are antiquated, and operate moderately.    Middle School has a 1969 AC system throughout the building and operates moderately.

The problem was not that the floor wax "melted". The school buildings were constructed on concrete slab foundations which remains cool at ground level. When warm moist air makes contact, the result is condensation. 

And, you know, the nearer your destination the more you're slip slidin away.


Anonymous said...

At the per student cost for this school system, there ought to be brand new buildings with central AC throughout. I'd bet every administrator that is making $80k+ has AC in their office. This while the real workhorses (the teachers) swelter with their students.

Poor Amherst.

Walter Graff said...

Sorry to disappoint you Larry but Amherst did make national news for it's ridiculous reason for closing a school. Once again Amherst is the laughing stock of the state. It was on the AP wire and was seen all around the world.

Strange how Amherst was the only schools to suffer from slab sweat in hundreds of schools and warehouses in the area that are also built on slabs. Yet none of them suffered from sweating. They could have solved it pretty easily (hint: a mere 1.2 mile per hour of air) and I'm surprised the high IQ people of the town didn't figure out the simple rule of atmospheric science that could have solved it and prevented it for the remainder of the season.

Classic Amherst.

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, that's why I used the term "international news".

Although these days, because of that darn Internet, the term has lost its meaning.

Walter Graff said...

What's an internet? Sounds like something related to tennis.

Walter Graff said...

And they probably tried to solve it with an old AC system instead of a simple technique. This school was built before codes would have required a certain type of insulation to be used with slab construction. So basically as the dew point rises you have water that can't get absorbed in the humid air so it condenses on a cooler slab. Since the cool slab is the problem you have to either remove the humidity or warm the slab. The AC units can't do that well in the schools so opening the doors and letting the buildings heat to the ambient outside temperature along with fans pushing air on one side of the building would have more than likely warmed the floors enough and solved the problem. I mentioned 1.2 miles per hour. All they needed was a slight increase in airflow at a rate of 100 feet per minute to stop the condensation aka industrial fan at one end of the school pushing air around. Enclosing the system with an old AC system works too if you can let the building sit, but it doesn't warm the slabs so you may have the issue again if the air gets enough moisture. Floors that have salt residue on them tend to have the problem more than others. Of course you could always simply turn on the heat but then they might not have a system that could be started up at this time of year.

Larry Kelley said...

Yeah, they don't switch over to heat until October.

They spend your money better than you said...

I mean, when you're done fanning your face with fresh hundred dollar bills, as a courtesy you might remove one from the bunch and wipe the school floor when it gets a little slick.

But then, Ponziville's $100,000 Pyramiders have ~long~ forgotten how to bend themselves in the direction of the proles from whose pockets those bills were taken.

(and they know it)

Cha CHING! said...

Anonymous said...

It is true that the systems are antiquated, but Anon 4:32 PM is correct. All of the offices are kept comfortably chilly. A neighbor who works in one of the schools said that yesterday the system was not cool enough in the classrooms, but today when she went in to get some work done, everything was nice and cool. If the maintenance director had simply had the cooling systems (antiquated or not) running at a reasonably cool temperature, perhaps some of this could have been avoided.

I'm told it is a regular fight for the teachers to get their classrooms properly chilled in the warm months and properly heated in the cold months.

Anonymous said...

I think Mr Jackson should consider some remedial science courses. The wax melted at 90 degrees? Condensation seemed kind of obvious given the weather. But hey what did we expect for a guy who is one of the highest paid public school employees in Western, MA