Gov. Ned Lamont and Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker Credit: Hugh McQuaid / CTNewsJunkie

With public school districts across Connecticut realizing they need to upgrade their heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems following the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Wednesday which projects will receive funding in the first round of allocations under a state grant program.

The HVAC Indoor Air Quality Grants Program for Public Schools, created under 2022 legislation, has a goal of allocating $150 million for the projects. Half of that amount is to come from the state’s share of federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, the other $75 million will be put on the state credit card.

Approving that borrowing leads the agenda of Thursday’s meeting of the State Bond Commission. Since the governor controls the commission’s agenda, it’s rare for an item to be rejected. The meeting begins at 10:30 a.m. in Room 1E of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

One day ahead of the meeting, Lamont announced the awarding of $56 million in first-round grants. School districts had from September 14 to December 1, 2022, to submit their requests for this round, with the understanding that the districts would provide matching grants if they received approval.

Municipality or DistrictSchoolTotal Project CostState Grant
BridgeportJettie S. Tisdale$1,250,000.00$982,125.00
ColebrookColebrook Consolidated$1,746,549.00$855,000.00
CoventryCoventry High School$11,070,000.00$6,602,148.00
East GranbyEast Granby Middle-High$809,078.00$356,482.50
East HartfordLangford Elementary School$97,946.00$74,860.13
East HartfordSunset Middle School$99,800.00$76,277.14
EastfordEastford Elementary School$362,836.00$219,007.81
EllingtonCenter School$1,220,000.00$671,000.00
EllingtonEllington Middle School$1,823,750.00$1,003,062.50
EllingtonEllington High School$3,692,500.00$2,030,875.00
FairfieldFairfield Warde High School$1,094,485.00$285,332.24
FairfieldFairfield Woods$7,343,995.00$1,914,579.50
FairfieldNorth Stratfield Elementary School$9,404.844.00$2,451,842,83
FairfieldOsborn High School$5.952,604.00$1,551,843.86
GlastonburyGideon Welles$449,1972.00$158,900.00
GuilfordGuilford Lakes$1,476,287.00$432,404.46
GuilfordCox Elementary School$1,156,213.00$338,654.79
GuilfordBaldwin Middle School$1,640,500.00$480,502.45
OxfordGreat Oak$4,335,000.00$1,888,759.50
PrestonPreston Veterans Memorial School$89,872.00$55,208.37
Region District 10Lewis Mill High School$1,993,749.00$1,082,406.33
Region District 18Consolidated$8,292,760.00$3,050,906.40
Region District 18Center School$7,389,531.00$2,718,608.45
Region District 18Middle School$16,961,681.00$6,240,202.44
Region District 5Amity Regional High School$2,022,079.00$866,663.06
Region District 8RHAM High School (locker room)$254,800.00$162,893.64
Region District 8RHAM High School$390,151.00$249,423.53
RidgefieldBarlow Mountain$28,400.00$6,693.88
RidgefieldVeterans Park$1,200.00$282.84
RidgefieldRidgefield High School$2,685.00$632.85
RidgefieldEast Ridgefield Middle School$3,832.00$903.20
StamfordJulia Stark$1,024,964.00$289,142,34
StamfordCloonan Middle School$341,073.00$96,216.69
StamfordStamford High School$2,458,585.00$693,566.83
StamfordWestover Magnet Elementary School$2,845,445.00$802,700.03
StratfordFlood Middle School$876,062.00$531,944.85
WaterburySprague Elementary School$2,716,455.00$2,153,877.17
WaterburyWoodrow Wilson$2,398,942$1,902,121.11
WaterburyBunker Hill$2,202,719.00$1,746,535.90

The types of projects eligible for funding include:

  • replacing, upgrading, or repairing boilers and other heating and ventilation components;
  • replacing controls and technology systems related to HVAC operations;
  • installing or upgrading air conditioning or ventilation systems; and
  • any similar work approved by the commissioner of the Department of Administrative Services, which administers the program. 

“One thing the COVID-19 pandemic exposed is that many school buildings, particularly those that are of a certain age, are in serious need of air quality improvements,” Lamont said in his announcement of the allocations. “Modernized ventilation systems provide an important public health function that [filter] the air and reduce airborne contaminants, including particles containing viruses. Most importantly, these air filtration systems will help ensure that our students can continue receiving their education in-person, in the classroom, where they learn best.” 

Lamont noted that the funding for this program comes on top of more than $165 million awarded for HVAC upgrades using funds the state received from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, which was approved by Congress in response to the pandemic. 

More projects on the agenda

The Bond Commission’s agenda Thursday also calls for a total of $813 million in borrowing, including $620 million in sales of general-obligation bonds. The projects set to be funded include:

  • Making technology improvements at two state agencies, costing $12.6 million. The Department of Revenue Services would receive “an off-the-shelf solution to streamline the administration of tax returns, and licensing programs.” The goal, according to agenda material, is to “provide taxpayers with a more timely, informative, and communicative experience, while also providing DRS with a dynamic platform to support return processing, collections, audit, and other DRS processes.” Meanwhile, the Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services would get funding for the first phase of implementing an electronic health record system “to modernize patient medical recordkeeping at state-operated facilities to improve quality, safety, and efficiency.”
  • Developing and implementing tech improvements at various state agencies, for a further $6 million.
  • Performing infrastructure repairs and renovations—some of them on an emergency basis — at state police barracks statewide, for $4.8 million. The work includes removal and replacement of underground storage tanks, renovating the clean room at the State Forensic Lab in Meriden, and several projects at the Troop A barracks in Southbury, including HVAC and mechanical improvements, roof replacement, and masonry repairs.
  • Carrying out projects in state buildings and other properties that improve energy efficiency and otherwise lessen environmental impacts, for $7 million. The projects are meant to reduce greenhouse emissions from the heating and cooling of buildings, bring renewable thermal heating systems, reduce waste generation and disposal, reduce water usage, and expand electric vehicle charging. 

In addition to the state’s constitutional officers and department commissioners, members include the co-chairmen of the legislature’s Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee — Senator John W. Fonfara of Hartford and Rep. Maria P. Horn of Salisbury, both Democrats — and the committee’s highest-ranking Republicans, Senator Henri Martin of Bristol and Rep. Holly H. Cheeseman of East Lyme.