Excuse me if you already know this, but I sub for teachers and bus drivers in the high school in the Renville County West School. I was sort of honored to be asked to sub for Mr. Schaub, one of our social studies teachers, while he had his knee repaired Jan. 24 through Feb. 12 of this year.
During my first two days there, I didn't quite figure out why the shades were always pulled. A day after I learned that they were pulled to help keep out the cold air, I was surprised to find a student messing with what looked like snow -- clearly the windows were frozen shut. The "snow" was frost, obviously. It also became obvious why between two and three students during some class hours chose to occasionally keep the hoods up on their sweatshirts. Some gloves appeared on girls when there was a lot of writing required.
When I asked one teacher how she knows how many layers to wear on winter days, she did comment that when the wind is blowing, her room is warmer because the thermostat kicks in to make up for the cold air inflow. That's not too reassuring to me when I've heard that natural gas prices may be up 35 to 40 percent this coming winter.
It shouldn't be hard to imagine how much more effective the teaching and learning could be in reasonable classroom conditions.
The proposed new building would have improved windows and insulation and air flow as well as a ground source system capable of providing cooling air for hot days.