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Why does New Hanover High School have the only gym without air conditioning?

Amanda Greene
Brogden Hall

Former New Hanover High School principal Chris Furr examines damages caused by a leak in Brogden Hall in 2010. (StarNews file photo)

Well, quite frankly, it’s kind of an old gym, Brogden Hall. It’s huge and would be totally expensive to air condition, according to New Hanover County Schools officials. New Hanover High School is the oldest high school in the county, completed in the 1920s, and actually has two gyms. The school gymnasium on Princess Street was completed between 1930 and 1940. Brogden Hall on Market Street was completed in 1959.

The Princess Street gym has air conditioning. It’s true that all the other high school gyms in the county are air conditioned while Brogden is not.

But Brogden’s HVAC situation has been an ongoing problem for the district – from a cost standpoint, said facilities director Eddie Anderson.

“There’s not a code requirement with the city or county for air conditioning in the gyms,” he said. “We’ve been slowly replacing Brogden’s windows, moving away from the metal frames and single-pane windows. You wouldn’t want to put air in a building with windows like that. A space that size, you’re looking at electrical improvements and equipment, too.”

Air conditioning for Brogden Hall has been identified as a capital need for many years and still will be on that list next year, Anderson said. But most times other needs such as roof repairs take precedence in the district.

There were, until recently, other schools in the district that were only partly air conditioned. Any schools built before 1960 didn’t have that luxury, Anderson said.

Just this summer air conditioning was added to the gyms at Roland-Grise Middle School, Trask Middle School and Williston Middle School.

Incidentally, there are some HVAC improvements set for New Hanover.

The New Hanover County Board of Education, approved an order for work on the school’s humidity problems tentatively for summer 2012.

At the July 12, 2011, board meeting, Cheatham and Associates was suggested and approved as the design firm for the renovations to control excessive humidity problems. Suggested repairs include replacing roofing and four outdoor HVAC units to provide more humidity control in the school.

In district documents, design consultants and district staff recommended immediate attention to fixing excessive humidity issues and water intrusion under the building and in its crawl spaces to keep from deteriorating mechanical equipment there.

The current budget estimate of $460,000 for the project would come from the district’s 2012 capital outlay funds.

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3 Responses to “ Why does New Hanover High School have the only gym without air conditioning?”

  1. On August 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm Keith wrote:

    Amanda, I believe your answer is incorrect. I have never known Brogden Hall to be air conditioned, and a recent Letter to the Editor from former NHHS Principal Robert Moore states that also.


    Other high schools coaches complain when their students must practice in dangerous situations when their gyms AC is broken, but NHHS students have been doing it for decades.

    It really is sad that the funds were allocatted to give our newest high school TWO air conditioned gyms but funds can’t be found to give NHHS one.

  2. On August 31, 2011 at 8:50 am Amanda Greene wrote:

    Hello Keith,
    When I wrote this answer, I think there was some confusion between Brogden Hall and the Princess Street gym. I think I’ve got it all straightened out now and will correct the post. Thank you for your question. I also think I’ll expand upon it for an article later on in the school year.

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