ventilation systems

Connecticut Public Schools Receives $150 Million to Upgrade Ventilation Systems

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Students at Connecticut public schools could look forward to cooler, cleaner air inside the classroom in the near future.

After falling short on funds last year to upgrade air-quality systems in public schools, the governor has announced the state will be putting up the funds to upgrade ventilation systems.

Around this time last year, schools around the state were looking to upgrade aging ventilation systems to improve air quality and help fight the airborne spread of COVID-19.

NBC Connecticut's Mike Hydeck spoke with Director of School Construction & Grants Kosta Diamantis about the logistics behind who pays for school ventilation upgrades and how those upgrades happen.

But many struggled to find the funds to fix the problems, even with federal relief money.

A state policy restricted COVID-aid for heating, air conditioning and air quality control projects.

“Teaching in a classroom that is frequently 95 degrees is incredibly challenging, watching your children melt, is really difficult to get them inspired its hard to get engage them and get them on their feet and learning," Kate Dias with the CT Education Association said.

“This is about making sure that every kid in our state is in a school building where the air is good and clean,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said.

State Senator Saud Anwar took the lead on the project, writing the bill and bringing it forward to the state.

"About 10% of the student and teacher population and about 10% of the student population have asthma and allergies and indoor air makes their respiratory problems worse," Anwar said.

According to a study filed by Future Ed, a self-described think tank at Georgetown University, air-quality is of highest priority for Connecticut districts who plan to invest the most money into improving air quality within schools—that's 46%, while athletic facilities, water fountains and additions to buildings are lower priorities.

Governor Ned Lamont said the money will go towards several projects including: replacing controls and technology systems related to HVAC operations; installing or upgrading air conditioning or ventilation systems; and other similar work approved by the commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services.

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