Hawaii’s public schools now have faster way of getting AC into classrooms

Updated: Aug. 22, 2019 at 7:40 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state Department of Education is employing a new streamlined process for schools to get air conditioning units into their classrooms faster.

The DOE announced Thursday that the Schools Directed AC program is giving school leaders the power to start the process by requesting an electrical assessment from the DOE’s office of facilities and operations to see if their classes have the electrical capacity for AC units.

“In the past, schools have had the ability to install AC, but the responsibility was on them to do an electrical capacity study,” said DOE Public Works Administrator John Chung, in a statement. “Under Schools Directed AC, we’re able to tell schools which buildings they can install in and how many units they can put in.”

The assessments will be done under existing heat abatement contracts — and won’t use additional funds.

Once the assessments are completed, schools can then start a budget for the process, partner with community groups for equipment donations and talk to lawmakers for additional funding.

“We have schools that have available funding and equipment donations in the pipeline, and this program allows schools to move forward with that,” said Christine Shaw, Assistant Superintendent for the Office of Facilities and Operations.

Since last fall, 200 AC units have been installed or are in the process of being put in. The DOE said of the 11,000 classrooms in the state, about 6,200 currently have AC.

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