OKC School Left With No A/C After Copper Wire Theft

Wednesday, September 14th 2011, 12:48 am
By: News 9

Michael Konopasek, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Vandals stole more than $10,000 worth of copper wiring from an A/C at Franklin Roosevelt Middle School, making for an uncomfortable week.

Not only has it been uncomfortable for teachers and students, but potentially dangerous.

On Tuesday, parents took home several children who said they could not take the heat any longer.

It's supposed to be a place for learning. But for the past week, it's been more and more difficult for children to get ahead at Franklin Roosevelt Middle School.

"And we can't have school. Basically, we're trying to keep everyone as comfortable as we can. Providing water, opening the doors, fans. Everything we can so the kids can continue to learn," said Helene Bailey, school principal.

School officials said over Labor Day weekend, someone stole copper wiring used to power a large chillier outside the school.

"They're using bolt cutters. We could see on the wire where they tried two different places to cut it," said Bob Cervi, the school district's maintenance director.

Cervi said copper theft is nothing new for Oklahoma City schools. He said there has been at least $84,000 worth of loss this summer due to copper thefts at five different schools.

"Those are moneys I could put somewhere else that I can't," Cervi said.

The School District said it has no idea how long it will take to fix the problem at Roosevelt because it is still waiting on a part for the A/C unit.

In the meantime, a temporary unit is cooling down part of the school, but Bailey said it's not enough.

"It's anywhere from 80 to 90 degrees in some of the classrooms," Bailey said.

A school district spokesperson said there is no specific policy in place to determine when a school should be closed due to temperature. She said each case is looked at on an individual basis and also adds that conditions at Roosevelt Middle school are safe for students.

School officials are asking for community members to be watchful and report any suspicious activities to police.