District denies claims of broken air-conditioner at Malcolm C. Hursey Montessori

The Malcolm C. Hursey Montessori students have filled the hallways of the former Morningside Middle School building.
Published: Sep. 5, 2023 at 7:33 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The Malcolm C. Hursey Montessori students have filled the hallways of the former Morningside Middle School building, and one parent claims the old building isn’t meeting up to current standards.

This move comes after the Charleston County School District pushed back the opening of the new Hursey Montessori building because of weather-related construction problems.

Parent Susie Ash claims that the air conditioning units in some of the classrooms have been slacking since the first day of school.

“They’re old,” Ash said. “They don’t work properly. They have horrible mold issues and horrible air conditioning issues.”

Timothy Schavel, Hursey Montessori’s principal, says that during the first week of school, only about 2-3 classrooms needed air conditioning repairs and they just checked the air quality last week for mold.

“We did like a punch list,” Schavel said. “If you’re having air conditioning issues, if you have any concerns, fill out this spreadsheet. We send it in to the operations office. We had a few rooms with air conditioning, but... Really not many. Not many. And they did the air tests, and the air quality is fine.”

Jeff Borowy, the district’s Chief Operating Officer, explains that because the building is from the 1950s, they don’t have central air, which means there’s no air in the hallways. There are only units in each classroom.

Borowy repeated that there are no different issues here than they have at any other school in the district.

“If it is an emergency, you know, if you’ve got something like air conditioning being out, backups with sewers, we want to make sure we get out there right away for the health and safety of the students and faculty,” Borowy said. “But again, we process all the work orders across the district in a similar fashion.”

The plan is to open the new Hursey Montessori building the week after Thanksgiving.

“It’s still on track to meet that timeline so that we can move over Thanksgiving if that is indeed the direction the district and school want to head,” Borowy said.

Schavel explains that the building they’re currently in has extra classrooms in an entire wing that has storage and boxes for the November move. He says teachers will not be responsible for moving the furniture, but they will be asked to help pack up their own stuff.

As far as the Morningside Middle students that are currently in the old Garrett Academy of Technology building, Borowy says they will be there for at least two years while their new facility will be under construction.

Borowy says the former Morningside Middle building will be demolished as soon as possible following the opening of the new Hursey Montessori building.

“I just want our new school done by November like we’ve been told,” Ash said.