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On Your Side: A/C keeping Washoe County classes cool while nobody's inside

On Your Side: A/C keeping Washoe County classes cool while nobody's inside (SBG)

With the hot summer in Reno-Sparks, many people are cranking up the air conditioning to stay cool.

But at places like Reed High School, more than a dozen air conditioners are cranking out cold air to keep some portable classrooms cold, even though in most cases, no one's inside.

It's a similar situation at other schools like Damonte Ranch High School. In fact, there are more than 200 portable classrooms throughout the school district, and this summer, you're paying to keep them cool.

"This time of year, with our extreme temperatures, we are finding the units are running more," said Jim Klitzke, the facilities coordinator at Reed High School.

The Washoe County School District mandates that empty classrooms be set at 85 degrees during the summer to protect computers and other electronic equipment, like phones and routers.

But the thermostats for these portable classrooms have to be adjusted manually, and someone has to remember to do it.

News 4 found that some rooms were below 85 degrees. While there is a central monitoring site to allow the school district to regulate heating and air-conditioning, the portable rooms aren't tied to that system.

"The one problem on these mobile units is they are just manual thermostats," said Jason Geddes, who oversees energy conservation for the district. "It requires someone to go in and put it into unoccupied mode."

Geddes admitted that with more than 200 individually-controlled thermostats, there is room for error.

On a second visit, News 4 saw that the amount of air conditioning in use had been cut back.

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