Tumut High School is set to complete another summer without air conditioning as the state government’s Cooler Classrooms program is rolled out.
As part of this program, all learning spaces will be fitted with modern air conditioning, although this is unlikely to happen by the end of February.
“The Cooler Classrooms program will deliver air conditioning to all of the 32 permanent learning spaces as well as the library at Tumut High School,” a NSW Department of Education spokesperson said.
“The project, which is currently in the design phase, requires an electrical upgrade before construction and installation can begin and high voltage works are underway.
“The Cooler Classrooms program is a $500 million, five-year investment by the NSW Government to improve learning environments in public schools across the state.
“Rollout of the program includes a process of due diligence and auditing each individual school to understand the scope, any heritage or Aboriginal factors and the electrical capacity.
“The NSW Government is committed to ensuring this program delivers sustainable systems that achieve value for money. As delivery requires each cooling, heating and fresh air ventilation system to be planned and designed for the specific school, it takes time.”
As at the end of October 2020, over 200 school have had systems installed in over 2,500 classrooms and more than 180 libraries. A further 350 schools are in delivery.
The Cooler Classrooms Program remains committed to prioritising schools in the hottest parts of the state and is continuing to be rolled out until mid-2023.
The electrical upgrades currently underway at Tumut High School will be approved separately by the supply authority. Final approval of these works will inform a precise timeline for delivery of air conditioning at the school.
Snowy Valleys Mayor James Hayes, who taught at Tumut High for over 30 years, and whose wife Karen still teaches there, is happy that that the school will be fully air-conditioned.
“Newer, modern reverse-cycle air conditioning will be better for the kids,” he said.
“This will be more efficient; more effective, which is a great thing.”
While accepting that it won’t be ready this summer, he hopes it will be before temperatures plummet.
“As long as it arrives in time for winter,” he said.
“It is pivotal in our climate.”
However, while he is satisfied with the air conditioning situation, he believes so much more needs to be done to bring the school up to an acceptable standard.
“Some serious money needs to be spent at the school,” he said.
“Especially for upgrading the science labs and industrial arts, providing hade and shelter for the students, among other things.
“You have 21st century students, 21st century curriculum, and 21st century instruction, and mid-20th century infrastructure, and that’s the issue.”