Colin Barnett

Colin Barnett


    Coalition Government would spend $6 million providing air cooling for 61 schools: Minister

    24/01/2001 11:05 AM

    The Coalition Government will spend $6 million over four years - $1.5 million a year - installing evaporative air-cooling systems in another 61 schools in the hills.

    Schools from Roleystone and Gosnells through to Kalamunda and Lesmurdie to schools in Greenmount and Swan View areas would be air-cooled.

    Education Minister Colin Barnett said today that if the Coalition Government was re-elected schools in the new zone which were only partly air-cooled or not air-cooled at all, would be air-cooled over the next four years.

    Mr Barnett said about 15 schools would be air-cooled each year. The first group of schools would be air-cooled for the start of school in 2002.

    “To air-cool a primary school costs between $50,000 and $60,000,” he said.

    “A secondary school costs between $250,000 and $300,000 to air-cool.

    “The Education Department’s policy on air-cooling systems in schools is based on climatic data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology, involving a variable called the ‘relative strain index’, which assesses the stress climate imposes on people.

    “Based on the data, those schools in the Kimberley, Pilbara and Goldfields districts and the northern regions of the Mid-West district were provided with air-cooling. Kimberley and Pilbara schools were provided with refrigerative air-cooling while the others had evaporative air-cooling.”

    Mr Barnett said in 1998, the Coalition Government announced that the air-cooling zone would be extended to include schools, mainly in the Goldfields, Mid-West, Midlands, and Narrogin districts, and a small number of schools in the Swan and Joondalup districts.

    He said $2.7 million was allocated over a four year period from 1998-99.

    About 210 schools throughout the State had been totally air-cooled - excluding the nine to be done in 2001-2002.

    In addition, in 1997, the Coalition announced that it would provide $200,000 to air-cool two classrooms in each education support school in the State, to provide relief for students with severe disabilities who often have increased levels of anxiety and discomfort in the heat due to their medical conditions.

    The Coalition extended this policy in 1998 to provide air-cooling in two classrooms in every education support centre over four years. $750,000 was allocated for this initiative.

    In 1997, the Coalition completed a $3.7 million seven-year program to install air-cooling in all transportable and demountable classrooms in WA.

    All new transportable and demountable classrooms must now be air-cooled during construction.

    Mr Barnett said the popular covered assembly area program had seen large covered assembly areas built at 100 schools around WA where there was little or no shade areas for students.

    He said the Coalition Government would allocate $1 million a year to continue this program to those schools which either lacked or had sub-standard covered assembly areas.

    Four to six schools would be provided with covered assembly areas each year.

    A further $2.1 million over three years had also been allocated to provide shade covers over sand pits in the pre primary areas of schools.

    “Schools also use a high temperature policy by which students can be withdrawn from school during excessive and prolonged hot weather conditions, and most have 'no hat no play in the sun' policies,” Mr Barnett said.

    Media contact: Diana Callander 9222 9699


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