Wyong High School, Wadalba Community School and both Lake Munmorah Public and High Schools are among the hundreds of schools that will go without air conditioning this summer after delays to the NSW Government’s 2018 Cooler Classrooms project.
According to NSW Labor Leader, Jodi McKay, hundreds of schools nominated during round one of Cooler Classrooms could have to wait until after the 2023 election before the NSW Government fulfills its promise.
On September 5, it was confirmed by the Chief Executive of Schools Infrastructure NSW, Erik Maranik, in a NSW Parliamentary hearing, that some schools would need to wait five years before their air conditioning units promised under the scheme could be installed.
McKay said news of the delay has left school communities frustrated and parents and carers despairing.
Labor Shadow Minister for Education, Prue Car, also said the government had remained silent on whether the presence of asbestos in selected schools would be likely to cause further delays.
“The NSW Government can’t tell us if the presence of dangerous asbestos will further delay the rollout of air-conditioning in our schools, but we know that they haven’t budgeted for the removal of dangerous asbestos in our schools.
“They should tell us how they will manage asbestos while air-conditioning is being installed,” she said.
The Chronicle reached out to all four school principals regarding the matter, but they all declined to comment.
The Chronicle also sought clarification about the delay from the Coast’s only sitting Liberal MP, Member for Terrigal, Adam Crouch, as well as The NSW Department of Education.
In a media statement, Crouch confirmed that the Cooler Classrooms project would be completed in 2023.
“This $500M commitment means that more than 900 public schools will receive air conditioning as part of the largest investment of its kind in NSW history.
“The size of this project means it will be completed by 2023,” the statement reads.
In a statement a spokesperson for the Department of Education confirmed that none of the schools in the former Wyong Shire would receive their air-conditioning in time for summer.
“Works at Wyong High, Wadalba Community, Lake Munmorah High and Lake Munmorah Public Schools are scheduled to begin after June 2020.
“Due diligence will be undertaken at each school prior to the design and installation of air conditioning and fresh air ventilation systems to understand the building conditions.
“The air conditioning and fresh air ventilation systems are designed to avoid disruption of hazardous materials,” the spokesperson said.
The spokesperson could not confirm when the works would be due to be complete.
Media release, Sep 6
Benjamin Granger, Office of Jodi McKay NSW Labor
Media statements, Sep 19
Adam Crouch MP
Sven Wright, NSW Department of Education
Dilon Luke, Journalist