NEWLAND – Avery County High School has no air conditioning. The old unit was taken out as part of the construction project at the high school, and there will be no A/C at the school until next year.
The temperatures are slowly dipping as the weather transitions to fall and installing heating in the school is the priority, but the school spent the summer and early weeks of the school year fighting off heat by circulating air through the facility.
Avery Middle School has its own woes with a serially unreliable HVAC system of its own. A teacher at AMS, Kristen Heckle, with the help of residents of Linville Land Harbor, has been taking on the issue by collecting fans to donate to teachers at the two schools.
Heckle said the arrangement began last year when Land Harbor residents, along with the development’s police department, began donating fans to donate to people in the Avery County who do not have air conditioning in their homes.
When Heckle, who lives in Land Harbor, asked for fans to be donated specifically for use in schools, donors from outside the development contributed as well.
At this point more than 30 fans have been collected and a donation was sent directly to the high school to use to purchase fans as well.
An email was circulated in Land Harbor, and an email was later sent out to staff at the schools so teachers could request fans from the donated pool through the principals.
“It’s been really helpful to be able to circulate that air,” Heckle said, noting the fans are useful for circulating warm air in classrooms in cold weather as well.
Heckle said the residents at Land Harbor and beyond saw a need and felt it was a way to help the schools.
“My neighbors in Land Harbor have always been very willing to help anyone,” Heckle said.
There is a private homeowner group on Facebook Land Harbor residents use to coordinate support for local causes.
“That’s really how we got the word out,” Heckle said.