School In Ewa Beach Thrilled To Get Money For Air Conditioning

Larisa Gadach
Larisa Gadach

EWA BEACH (KHNL) -- For more than 40 years, teachers and students at Pohakea Elementary have been dealing with the hot and dry conditions in Ewa Beach. But now, there's some refreshing news.

On Tuesday, the Governor announced she's releasing more money for a campus-wide air conditioning system.

"Montana, what else might make you want to continue reading?" Larisa Gadach, teacher, asked one of her students.

Larisa Gadach leads lively discussions to keep her sixth-grade students focused on their work, and not the severe conditions in the classroom.

"They are just hot and sweat pouring down their face when they come in at recess," she said. "And I know that for me, it's hard to teach. So for them, I can only imagine how hard it is for them to concentrate."

"They've done studies on our campus," Judi Wong, vice principal, said. "And we were considered one of the hottest campuses in the state."

Gadach is in one of two classrooms with ceiling fans, but says the fans just blow hot air around.

"It doesn't really help much at all, no," she said.

A classroom nearby has two smaller fans. Students there struggle to keep cool.

"I remember being a teacher in the classroom in B-4," Wong said. "And I remember eight o'clock in the morning, I'd be perspiring, dripping already."

School officials say they're thrilled to get money for air conditioning.

The Governor is releasing an additional $320,000 for the project's design and construction costs. The money will be used to verify what electrical work is needed for the air conditioning to work properly without jeopardizing electrical service to the rest of the 44-year-old campus.

It follows a $3.47 million allocation earlier this year.

"Especially with the expectations of learning and student achievement, I think it'll have a great impact," Wong said. "We're excited."

Construction is scheduled to begin in June 2008 and be completed in July 2009.