FRASER Coast schools have gotten off to a cool start at the beginning of Term 2, 2022.
The Queensland Government said all classrooms, libraries and staff rooms in every single state school in the Wide Bay Burnett region were now air conditioned.
The development forms part of the State Government’s $477-million Cooler Cleaner Schools Program.
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An investment of around $14.9-million has secured air conditioning for more than 830 school spaces in 96 schools across the region, and it’s come two months ahead of schedule.
Member for Hervey Bay Adrian Tantari said he was pleased the government was able to deliver on its commitment.
Speaking at Urangan State High School as students kick-off the new term, Mr Tantari said the outcome was great for students and staff at local public schools.
“There is no denying Hervey Bay has great weather, but with that comes the humidity and the heat,” Mr Tantari said.
Education Minister Grace Grace said the Cooler Cleaner Schools Program was due for completion in June, but was fast tracked so that state school students, teachers and staff across Queensland could enjoy air conditioning sooner.
Ms Grace said the government was committed to providing quality school facilities for Queensland.
“Our Cooler Cleaner Schools Program supported around 1,000 jobs during the height of the pandemic, as well as a pipeline of work as part of the economic recovery plan for Queensland.
“During 2021–22, we are delivering an overall infrastructure investment portfolio valued at almost $1.9-billion, driving the Queensland economy by supporting more than 4,100 jobs.”
She said the use of air ventilation and correctly operated and maintained air conditioning systems that introduce fresh air from outside could help minimise transmission of COVID-19 in schools.
“Our investment also includes $71-million over 3 years to expand solar panel installations on state school rooftops to assist in offsetting the additional energy air conditioners will use,” Ms Grace said.
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Maryborough West State School Principal Greg Finn said the new air conditioning was very well received by the local school community.
“In the recent summer months with the heat and high humidity, exacerbated in Maryborough by two recent floods, the air conditioning has allowed the students and teachers to conduct their work in comfort,” Mr Finn said.
“In those times after the lunch break where children traditionally return to the classroom hot and bothered, teachers have reported greater focus and productivity from the students since the installation of the air conditioning.
“Even before the announcement of the Cooler Cleaner Schools Program the P&C Association were focusing their fund-raising efforts on air conditioning the Prep Classrooms and contributed $16,000 to this.”
Click here for more information on the Cooler Cleaner Schools Program.
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