BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A state committee Thursday approved millions of dollars for portable air conditioning and HVAC system installation at a number of Baltimore City and County schools.
The Interagency Committee on School Construction made the decision on the same day dozens of city and county schools without air conditioning were forced to close or let out early due to heat.
Six schools in Baltimore County will get nearly $13.5 million for vertical packaged air conditioning units.
The project includes:
- Dulaney High School, which will get air conditioning in at least 50 classrooms, the health suite, the gym and cafeteria;
- Lansdowne High School, which will get air conditioning in at least 70 classrooms, the auditorium, gym and cafeteria;
- Bedford Elementary School, which will get air conditioning in at least 19 classrooms and the gym
- Catonsville Center For Alternative Studies, which will get air conditioning in at least 12 classrooms and the gym;
- Western School of Technology/Science, which will get air conditioning in at least 16 classrooms in the original tech wing; and
- Eastern Technical High School, which will get air conditioning in at least 11 classrooms in the original tech wing.
The $13.5 million also includes $224,000 for a boiler replacement at Hampton Elementary School.
In Baltimore City, five schools will get a total of just over $9 million, including:
- Dickey Hill Elementary/Middle School
- Mount Royal Elementary/Middle School
- Edgecombe Circle Elementary School
- Booker T. Washington Middle/High School
- Edgewood Elementary School
The air conditioning upgrades will happen in every classroom in the five buildings.
The committee did not provide funding for air conditioning upgrades at the Southside High School building. Staff recommended not funding it because the school has a number of other issues and "the LEA does not seem to have a sustainable plan for future improvements and use of the facility."
On Facebook Thursday, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot welcomed the news:
"I've been waiting since June of 2011 - when I first asked then-Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Joe Hairston to consider installing portable air conditioning as a means of heat relief in his sweltering classrooms, Along the way, we have encountered extreme bureaucratic resistance, dealt with misrepresentations, threats and lies from county school officials, and even had the Board of Public Works' oversight authority stripped by the legislature. All to provide children and teachers with the safe, comfortable learning conditions that are taken for granted in the 21st century.
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