KILLEEN, TX — A private school in Killeen that specializes in educating children with special needs is reaching out to the community to help raise money for a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system.
At Oak Creek Academy, there are five classrooms that don’t have heat or air conditioning. Teachers are having to use space heaters or simply not use the classroom because it is too cold.
The private school specializes in providing education and therapy needs to families that have children with special needs.
“They also receive all therapies in house from private companies if that’s needed. For example, speech, occupational, physical, and behavioral therapy," explained Dr. Tracy Hanson, principal of Oak Creek Academy.
Until now, the academy has been renting the building and unable to repair the existing HVAC system in the classrooms.
“It has great bones, but there are some issues and our current issue, the HVAC system. We have six heaters that aren’t properly working or not working at all in the classrooms," said Dr. Hanson.
The school is trying to raise close to $200,000 to buy a brand new system, which school officials say will cost less than repairing the broken parts.
”It's about $190,000 to replace all 24 units, 24 to 25 units. The reason that we are having to do it that way is just cost effectiveness. We could piecemeal it out, but it would cost more per unit to do that," explained Michael Whaley, a Oak Creek Academy staff member.
Whaley works for the school but also has three children who attend the academy, two of whom have special needs.
"It is a godsend. Being military, we travel around every two or three years, and there has not been a duty location that we have been to that has the resources that they have here," he explained.
Other parents say they are trying to help raise the money because if it wasn’t for the academy, their child would not be where they are today.
”I hope that people can recognize how unique and wonderful this school is, how it's changed my life, how I think it’s changed my entire family’s life, honestly," explained Camillia Trammell.
The students are also grateful for donations made so far by the community.
With the help of parents and the community, Oak Creek Academy has raised $13,000 of the close to $200,000 they need for the repairs.
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