31 Aug Chiller techs keep students focused and sharp

Keeping a cool head is crucial to decision making, both literally and figuratively.  When heat is literally a problem, you can bet that Clark County School District’s 15 chiller technicians will stop at nothing to keep our 356 schools up and running with air conditioning.

One such technician is Chiller Technician Naji Mehanna. Mehanna oversees the southwest area of the district, which includes 58 chillers – five of which are in extended school year schools. On any given day, Mehanna will answer two or three service calls a day from schools requesting a check-up or repair on their chillers. But Judith D. Steele Elementary School’s call on Aug. 18 was different.

Just four days before the first day of the 2015-16 school year at Steele Elementary School, the chiller operating system crashed. Having 860 students sit in a scorching classroom is a nightmare for everyone and not an option, especially on the first day.

So Mehanna did what many of our CCSD chiller technician do when there is a problem, work around the clock in the middle of scorching heat to provide a comfortable learning environment for students and staff. Mehanna spent more than 36 hours diagnosing Steele Elementary School’s chiller problem, repairing it and then restarting the whole unit while checking up on his other assigned schools. Twenty of those hours happened right before the school’s doors opened.

“We had a software issue on Steele’s chiller. We got a portable chiller to connect to the main school but ended up having problems with the portable chiller too,” said Mehanna. “I focused my attention on the main chiller going through every board, every sensor and every wire to figure what’s causing the computer to short out.”

As soon as Mehanna found the faulty sensor, all that was left to do was restart the chiller. The temperature during the days of the repair averaged 107 degrees. Working under a sweltering sun is not a painless job and since chillers are usually enclosed, a routine check-up can get real sweaty. Years of experience taught Mehanna to keep a jug of cool water nearby during the summer.

Out in the heat or in the cold, chiller technicians are a call away to help with controlling the temperature in the classrooms all for the benefit of our students and staff.

Steele Principal, Martha Slack knows first hand how critical our chiller technicians are to the school district.

“Naji worked relentlessly to get our air conditioning up and running,” said Steele Principal Martha Slack. “He was at our school an entire week even during the weekend when it was over 100 degrees outside. The Clark County School District is very fortunate to have a Naji in their midst.”