By Amy Wenk

The 1,350 students at North Springs Charter High School in Sandy Springs should be cooler when school starts August 23.

Construction crews, since May 26, have been working on HVAC and mechanical upgrades at the school. The nearly $4 million project should be complete Aug. 6, North Springs Principal Dr. Lisa Stueve said.

Students “are going to be thrilled,” Stueve said, since the circa-1963 school had aging heating and cooling systems that needed constant repair. Some children with asthma had to be removed from classrooms during the winter, she added.

Those heating and cooling systems were stripped from the school and recycled, Stueve said. The largest system, which weighed 3,000 pounds and sat on the roof of the gym, had to be taken away with a helicopter, said Grounds Manager Willy Parker.

“It’s been a different experience,” Parker said. “I’m looking forward to running through the halls with the kids again.”

The old heating and cooling systems were replaced with energy efficient water-source heat pumps, said Jonathan Brown, foreman with Doster Construction Company, the general contractor. “It’s basically going green, getting rid of all the Freon components,” he said.

Part of the renovations at North Springs included adding heating and cooling systems to the auxiliary gym. That space is used each day for physical fitness classes and holds volleyball tournaments and junior varsity games, Stueve said. “Everybody is going to be so happy it has air now,” she said.

Brown said crews have been working seven days a week to complete the project.

“Other than being displaced, for me, it’s been painless,” Stueve said.

Stueve and the North Springs administrative staff this summer have been housed in the counseling suite at Dunwoody Springs Elementary School on Roberts Drive. The temporary quarters have been tight at times, she said, for the 13-member staff.

“My records are here,” Stueve said during a July 23 tour of North Springs. “And this week is when I started running out of forms.”

North Springs also is receiving new marquee signs this summer, paid for with state funds. The school’s booster club and the city of Sandy Springs are working together to build batting cages at the school.