(HARTFORD, CT, March 1, 2022) – Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont is proposing legislation that will establish a grant program to assist public school districts in paying for heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC), and other indoor air quality improvements to school buildings. He explained that the program is needed to help schools make necessary infrastructure upgrades in response to the health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To launch the program, the governor’s budget proposal includes an investment of $90 million in funding that Connecticut received from the American Rescue Plan Act, which was approved by Congress last year to assist in the country’s recovery from the pandemic. The governor stressed that this initial allocation would be the first investment in the program, and additional rounds of funding can invested as needed.
“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,” Gov. Lamont said. “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.”
The proposed program, which would be administered by the Connecticut Dept. of Administrative Services, requires municipalities to provide matching grants to fund the project costs.
Examples of eligible projects include:
- Replacing, upgrading, or repairing boilers and other heating and ventilation components;
- Replacing controls and technology systems related to HVAC operations;
- Installing or upgrading air conditioning or ventilation systems; and
- Other similar work approved by the commissioner of the Dept. of Administrative Services.
Gov. Lamont has directed the Dept. of Administrative Services to develop the proposed program in coordination with the State Dept. of Education, the Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection, and the Dept. of Public Health.
The legislation is currently under consideration by the Connecticut General Assembly’s Education Committee.