- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 21, 2017

LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) - Only about 200 Hawaii classrooms have received air conditioning units as part of Gov. David Ige’s $100 million plan announced early last year to cool 1,000 classrooms.

The Hawaii Department of Education released its latest update on the “cool schools” initiative on Feb. 14. The report says 209 classrooms have had air-conditioning units installed and 926 classrooms are in the construction or bidding process, The Garden Island reported (https://bit.ly/2lGxN40 ) Monday.

When Ige laid out the plan in his State of the State Address in January 2016, he said he wanted to cool 1,000 classrooms by the end of the year.

But the project has faced setbacks due to the high number of bids for AC installation, budgetary concerns and the aging infrastructure of some schools, according to the department.

The state has identified 33 schools on a priority list of the state’s hottest campuses.

The only Kauai school on that list is Kekaha Elementary School, which did not have any air-conditioning units installed as of Feb. 15. The school is ranked 31st on the priority list.

DOE Kauai Complex Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki said the bid for the project went out and the “award and partial notice to proceed is being processed.”

While the state has experienced delays in installing air-conditioning units, officials are still working to cool down classrooms in other ways.

Arakaki said there are plans to add more trees around the school to provide more shade, irrigate the areas around the buildings to keep the lawns green and to build shade structures over the playground areas. But construction funding has not yet been appropriated for the projects.

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Information from: The Garden Island, https://thegardenisland.com/


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