DOE aiming to add air conditioning in three public schools in Ewa Beach

By Brenton Awa
Published On: Jan 14 2014 06:43:00 PM HST

The Department of Education has asked the state for extra money this year, part of which is to help re-fit certain schools with air conditioning systems.

Click here to read Brenton Awa's article.

HONOLULU -

The Department of Education has asked the state for extra money this year, part of which to help re-fit certain schools with air conditioning systems.

Click here to watch Brenton Awa's report.

The DOE has nine schools on it's current air conditioning priority list. It has asked for $25-million which would cover a third of those schools.

"It's a problem that we recognized a while back. We do have a heat abatement program as part of our capital improvement program and we're addressing it as fast as we can," said Raymond L'Heureux, assistant superintendent at the Department of Education.

The top three schools on the D.O.E's A.C priority list include Ewa Beach Elementary, Campbell High School and Ilima Intermediate where it's principal says temperatures can be unbearable.

"When you're talking about July, August and even September, the heat alone can reach well into the 90's," said Jon Henry Lee, principal at Ilima Intermediate.

Right next door, Pohakea Elementary has already cooled off. The school just underwent a two year $5-million renovation installing these systems. It's staff says students are performing better. That's what the D.O.E hoped for and also why it'll continue to knock schools off that waiting list.

"The learning environment changed, the material condition of each classroom changed because of that project and it just makes for a better learning environment and they're happy," said L'Heureux.

If the state grants the funds we're told $25-million would cover those top three schools. Ewa Beach Elementary would cost $5-million, Ilima Intermediate $8-million and Campbell High School $13-million. The D.O.E says the upfront costs will save money in the long run.

"These buildings were not designed to have air conditioning so in a fourth generation system, especially as expensive as it is to run these systems, we have to look at the project as a whole," said L'Heureux.

"Our students perform on par with all the rest of the middle schools across the state and we have to battle some of these facility types of challenges so it would be nice to have a different kind of focus," said Lee.

As for when to expect those air conditioning systems to be installed in those schools. The state still has to approve the D.O.E's request. If approved, the earliest the D.O.E would get the money is July. They'd then put the jobs up for bid, followed by a year of construction depending on size and build of school.

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