'Safe shelter:' As temps rise, Milwaukee cooling center opens at North Division High School

MILWAUKEE -- The City of Milwaukee opened its first cooling center of the year on Tuesday, July 7 at North Division High School. It will be open from 1 p.m. through 6 p.m. through Friday, July 10. 

"We want to provide safe shelter for people that may not have places to be in a cool environment," said Nick Tomaro with the Milwaukee Health Department.

During the summer, staying cool in Milwaukee isn't easy. And at a time when the coronavirus is rampant, things aren't any easier.

"The biggest thing I think we can talk about today is that, within this pandemic, it becomes more challenging," Tomaro said.

The city's health department is attempting to find a way to help, opening a cooling center at North Division High School.

"The larger the facility the better, and the opportunity for that physical distancing," said Tomaro.

Inside the school's gym, a dozen or so tables are set up. At one of them on Tuesday, were Adrienne Thompson and her two children. She said it is hard for people in her neighborhood to stay cool -- and safe -- on days like Tuesday, when temperatures passed 90 degrees.

Cooling center at North Division High School

"It was extremely hot yesterday so I just figured that this would be a good opportunity to get the girls out of the house and into a cool and safe environment," Thompson said. "I think it's actually better to be in a gym because in a gym you have more space and you can use more social distancing."

Thompson said it was her first time in a cooling center and, be it during a pandemic, she was nervous to venture over.

"Before we even entered into the door we made sure that those who were servicing us that they had masks on as well," said Thompson.

Adrienne Thompson (center) and family

Staying safe and cool isn't impossible to do, it just takes a few extra steps. Masks are required to enter the cooling center. If you don't have one, they have plenty on hand.

"With those types of elements in place, I think it should be okay," Thompson said.

Bradley Tech High School on the city's south side was promoted by the Milwaukee Health Department as another cooling center. However, FOX6 News found Tuesday that the air conditioning at the school was out. They are working to repair it and hope to have it up-and-running soon.