By TRAVIS M. WHITEHEAD
HARLINGEN — It’s cool.
Or at least it will be once the duct work has been completed at Travis Elementary.
Numerous projects throughout the Harlingen school district are drawing to a close, including the installation of four air-conditioning units at Travis Elementary.
“We had air conditioning issues throughout the school year,” said Principal Beulah Rangel, who was returning from summer vacation.
The work at Travis and many other schools this summer is being funded by the TRE — Tax Ratification Election, passed by voters two years ago.
The TRE allowed for a 10-cent increase in property taxes. The extra funds raised through this increase are used specifically for work like that taking place at Travis.
A walk through the halls showed the extent of the work still in progress. Wires and conduits dangled from the ceiling, and stained insulation lined the walls, and containers of white sealant waited for the next job.
“All the rooms look like this and in the hallways,” Rangel said. “I am happy to see the upgrades.”
She gestured toward the workers.
“They have been here all summer long,” she said.
Last week three 20-ton air conditioning units were installed, said Oscar Tapia, assistant superintendent for district operations.
“They had these big cranes,” Tapia said. “We had done one already, and there were still three new ones to be loaded up there. They put them up and they’ll have them ready for the first day of school.”
The problem was simple. The old units were not cooling very well, and they had to be replaced before completely shutting down and creating a disruption in instructional time. That could result in school children be transported to other schools.
The roof was also replaced. It was about time. It was almost 40 years old.
“It was a complete tear off,” Tapia said. “We put in new roof boards, insulation board and the roof cap sheet.”
The installation of new air conditioning units required the duct work.
“The units are new so we did have to do some interior modifications to the duct system in several rooms,” he said. “So we have some new duct work in some of the classrooms to better distribute the air flow in the classrooms.”
The work is expected to be completed by the first day of school Aug. 21.