Norcross High School in Georgia is in the spotlight after the unveiling of a new $500,000 video scoreboard built for the school's football stadium, one that the school claims to be the largest in the nation. However some parents can't help but shake their heads as their daughters play volleyball in a gymnasium without air conditioning.
The new scoreboard was paid for by boosters and businesses, not school tax money. Parents of volleyball players say it still points to the disparity they see as their children play in sweltering conditions. The volleyball season runs from August through October, and teams hold practices during the summer months, too.
"The other night with the storms coming through, it was still 92-93 degrees," said Michael Obertone. His daughter is a sophomore player and he serves as a line judge for some matches.
He worries about the health effects on the girls as they practice and play in what he calls stifling heat.
"Some kids are feeling light headed and they are having to hydrate the living daylights out of them," Obertone said.
The Norcross High School building was built with budgeted and taxed funds back 2001. A school district spokeswoman said that it was custom back then to build schools without air in gyms or in the activity centers for middle and elementary schools.
"It's in the design stage and it should be installed next year," spokeswoman Sloan Roach said.
Obertone though, doesn't trust the work will get done next year. He said he understands the excitement with the new massive video board, but wonders why the community hasn't stepped in to help with the hot gym.
"One would think in 14 years the second or largest school in Gwinnett (one of the state's largest counties) could get air conditioning," Obertone said.
School administrators confirmed Norcross High is one of only two high schools in the district without air conditioning in its gymnasium. Both schools are scheduled to have coolers added in 2016.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.