Problem-plagued school in Apopka had no heat due to boiler issue



APOPKA, Fla. - Channel 9 obtained photos Monday of Wheatley Elementary School students taking tests in class while bundled up due to the school not having heat for several hours.

Reporter Karla Ray found that a piece of the school's boiler system was broken, prompting the heat to shut off for several hours on the coldest day of the year.

"Today is Monday. Yesterday was Sunday, and you couldn't have thought to do this last night or first thing this morning?" said parent Carmen Dudley.

The faulty boiler is the latest issue students and staff members have dealt with. Channel 9 first exposed deteriorating conditions inside the school and Ray obtained two years' worth of maintenance records that suggest some problems were never properly addressed.

The earliest of those records show staff complained of feeling sick, problems that were reported every few months, but it wasn't until December that a third party was brought to inspect the school and find out why.

That investigation determined the design of the school's HVAC system wasn't allowing enough outside air in, which created "tight building syndrome."

Tight building syndrome causes upper respiratory irritation, watery eyes, sneezing and headaches.

That same report showed nine rooms with relative humidity at higher than 65 percent, ideal conditions for mold growth.

After Channel 9 started asking questions, school officials scheduled a micro-cleaning for spring break and are focusing on creating better air quality.