TRACK STORMS: Click to use CBS 6 Interactive Radar

No AC in Arthur Ashe Center affects 10K participants

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K runners and walkers are expecting to sweat on Saturday, but they were not expecting to sweat during packet pickup.

But many did just that, a direct result of the Arthur Ashe Center having broken air conditioning.

“It is more humid in here than it is outside,” Chris McCalister, a volunteer who works at the packet pickup, said.

The Arthur Ashe Center is owned by the Richmond School Board. Tens of thousands of people are expected to walk through the Arthur Ashe doors on Thursday and Friday for packet pick-up.

According to Richmond school board member Kim Grey, the air conditioning in the building has been broke for over a year.

Grey tells CBS 6 the estimates the board has received is that it would cost over $1 million to fix and that there are plans to fix the A/C.

City Council President Charles Samuels says that is because the board has expressed interest in selling the facility back to the city.

“My understanding is the school board would want to surplus it back to the city and I don’t think there is any objection to that,” Samuels said.

If the school board would “surplus” it back to the city, Samuels envisions it being demolished to make way for future development in the area.

But what about the use of the facility as a storm shelter? After all it has been used in that capacity in the past including during Hurricane Irene.

Some wonder if the Arthur Ashe Center was to be used during a weather event, it could create a Hurricane Katrina Superdome-like scenario.

But Samuels says there are no plans to use it as an emergency shelter in its current state.

“The city switched over a year ago to have less of a centralized shelter idea for emergency situations like a hurricane,” Samuels said.

Packet pickup goes until 9 p.m. Thursday and will resume Friday.

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