by Brent Addleman
Connecticut public schools would be able to pay for upgrades to heating, cooling, and ventilation systems in legislation proposed by Gov. Ned Lamont.
The first-term Democrat announced the proposed legislation that would create and fund a grant program that would need $90 million to get the project off the ground to help schools make the upgrades in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One thing the COVID-19 pandemic exposed is that many school buildings in our state, particularly those that are of a certain age, are in serious need of air quality improvements,” Lamont said in a release. “Some people may erroneously think that heating and cooling systems are only about temperature control, but modernized ventilation systems provide an important public health function that filtrate the air and reduce airborne contaminants, including particles containing viruses. I strongly urge lawmakers to approve this proposal so that we can begin releasing funds to school districts and make these much-needed HVAC upgrades.”
Lamont said funds from the American Rescue Plan Act would be utilized to start the program. He said the initial funding allocated would establish the program, and additional rounds of funding would be invested as needed, according to the release.
The proposed legislation is currently under consideration in the Education Committee. The program, according to the release, would be administered by the Department of Administrative Services and would require cities and towns to provide matching grants to fund projects.
Eligible projects would include replacing, upgrading, or repairing boilers and other heating and ventilation components, and replacing controls and technology related to heating and cooling systems. Additionally, eligible projects would be installing or upgrading air conditioning and ventilation systems, and other similar work approved by the commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services.
Lamont, according to the release, has directed the department to establish the program with the State Department of Education, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the Department of Publish Health.
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Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor for The Center Square and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Kentucky.