Hey Everybody, Just Chill Out!

So, this summer has gotten off to an unusually warm start. In preparation, I purchased for the school (with the help of an alumni parent – thanks, Kitt!) a portable air conditioner for the early childhood classrooms. These are big, sometimes loud, need to be near a window and power, and, in our case, need to cool two rooms down to the comfortable range.

A number of staff were discussing strategies around the staff table while Lucas, a middle school student who was helping out in the elementary program, was working on a project (creating the new 7-page Chicken Care Guide for the middle school chickens). Lucas is particularly mechanically inclined and did his 6th grade passion project on refrigeration. (His dad is a refrigeration mechanic.)  At this point Lucas looks up and says, “You know, you’ve got two big heat pumps on the back of that building.”

Everyone stops talking and looks at him and I, after a long pause, say, “What?”

“Yeah, those are two big heat pumps.”

Again, a long pause, then, “What?”

“They act as heaters, but if you reverse them they’ll cool the rooms.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I know what heat pumps are and what they do.”

I said, “Come with me,” and Lucas, Lloyd (our new maintenance guy), Melinda (our advancement director) and I head over to the building. After some fiddling we figure out that one of the units is sort of working, but the “sort of” part is connected to the mystery water stain on one of the ceiling tiles. The other one is not, so Lucas calls his dad. He gets him on the phone and asks if I want to talk to him. I say, “Uh, no. You should do it because I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Lucas smiles and talks to his dad for a bit.

He hangs up and says, “The water dripping is probably because of a clog and the other one needs to have a switch flipped.”

Melinda says, “Lucas, if you fix this we’ll get you a whole bunch of ice cream.”

I say, “Lucas, if you fix this we’ll get you an ice cream truck.”

Lloyd comes back later and says that we need to call in Lucas’ dad because they couldn’t find the clog or the switch. “But we found where the switch was on the schematic.”

“You found a schematic?”

“Actually, Lucas found the schematic.”

Of course he did.  Long story short, Lucas’ dad came in and did some much needed maintenance work on the units and gave us the run down on what we need to do to keep them in good shape. In the meantime, we have a completely air conditioned building for our youngest students, and we can move the portable air conditioner to the next most needed space.

And I can go on vacation and leave Lucas in charge.