Forrest City High School experiences more heating problems

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FORREST CITY, Ark. -- The big chill has students and teachers at Forrest City High School playing musical classrooms.

The school's heating system has been on the fritz again, leaving some rooms without heat.

It's not the first time there have been problems, and school officials know what's to blame.

Willie Rhodes, assistant superintendent of school operations, said things Wednesday were looking up compared to Monday morning.

"We have heat in the majority of the classrooms at Forrest City High School. Specifically, this morning there were only two down," Rhodes said.

He said the problem with the highs school's heating system can be linked to it's old age.

"What I refer to as one of the old, antiquated boiler systems. Where the water flows through and heats up and then heats the entire building," Rhodes said.

Fourteen classrooms were affected by sporadic heat outages Monday when students and teachers returned from the holiday break.

The school was built for 1,400 students, but there are only about 900 enrolled now, so the school has available rooms with heat and is shifting students from room to room.

Rhodes said parents weren't notified about the heating problem and none of the classes dropped below a safe temperature.

"It's not been a situation where it's a wide-scale problem, where we had to alert people of this or that. It's been minor occurrences, here and there," he said.

Problems with the high school's system date back  years.

In 2011, we reported on a major study conducted by the Forrest City School Board and heating and air-conditioning experts, that revealed air-ducts weren't properly installed during a 2006 retro-fitting.

No one is ready to say exactly what it will take to fix the system, which is reportedly only one of two boiler type heaters in the Forrest City School District, only that something needs to be done.

"We're gathering information right now to make a decision. Whether we need to overhaul the current system or to replace it," Rhodes said.

We were not allowed in the school to take any pictures Wednesday morning.

Administrators plan to monitor the cold weather closely overnight hope the heating system is running properly Thursday morning.

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