CALHOUN CITY – The shirtless basketball players might as well have been outside.
In fact, they might have felt better outside, even in the heat of early August. Sweat poured off them as they practiced, while the temperature in the high school gymnasium soared over 100 degrees.
At least outside, the temperature was only in the 90s.
“It’s terrible in here,” coach Darren Coffey said as his students continued to scrimmage. “Even with the fans going. You can’t tell they’re blowing.”
Indeed, the window fans high above the floor barely stirred the air, while a large floor fan under the north-end goal provided little relief except for the space directly in front of it.
Bro. Scott Wright, substituting that day, brought a class of middle-schoolers to the gym, but soon left and took the class elsewhere.
“It’s just too hot,” Coffey said.
Coffey and his brother Bruce, also a coach, and others asked the school board to consider installing better air conditioning during the summer, but no action was taken before school started.
The group presenting the proposal estimated a maximum cost of $45,000 for installing an adequate air conditioning unit and better insulating the building. They had sought grant funding from such sources as the Mississippi Development Authority, Wal-Mart and McDonald’s, they said.
The district would likely need an engineer to examine the building and recommend the tonnage of cooling unit the building would require.
Though the basketball team and other groups use the gym sometimes during the summer, the heat this year prompted the cancellation of many activities there, Coffey said.
“We’ve got to do something about this,” Coffey said.