Electrical malfunction leaves portable classrooms out of service for the week


By Daniel Davidson

Classes in the modular building are expected to continue in improvised spaces in the main building this week after an air conditioning unit malfunctioned.

The Lawrence Fire Department responded to a smoke detector in the modular going off around 7 p.m. last night. No fire was found and water was not used, but the portables classrooms are expected to be out of use until Monday.

“An electrical smell lingers in those classrooms today, so we’re moving inside [the main building],” interim Principal Cynthia Johnson said in a letter to students and families.

Johnson identified in the letter that the smoke was caused by a motor freezing inside an A/C compressor unit. Maintenance was being done yesterday on the same unit that started to smoke later that night.

Assistant principal Quentin Rials, who oversees facilities, declined to comment on what issues were previously discovered with the unit.

“I will have additional conversations… with McCown Gordon, Dr. Johnson and the District,” Rials said of the matter in an email to The Budget.

Teachers forced to move were able to go into the modular to retrieve belongings, but the building is currently off-limits to students. 

According to Johnson, a plan was already in place in case classes had to be moved into the main building. Counselors Kelsey Buek and Lori Stussie figured out what spaces would be used by affected teachers. Improvising unique classrooms is something faculty has plenty of experience with.

“They had it done in less than a blink,” Johnson said.

The A/C unit is currently being repaired and investigated. Information will be updated as available.


Current room arrangements:

Shannon Hodges – New Black Box Theater

David Rush – Library

Julie Oswald – Butler 5

Katie Hutchinson – 1st hour 109; 2nd hour 103

Jim Belch – Room 104

Brian Hunter – Library