TOO HOT: The push for air-conditioning in state schools is on as temperatures soar again.
TOO HOT: The push for air-conditioning in state schools is on as temperatures soar again. yokeetod

One degree of separation for air-conditioning

UPDATE: There is only one degree of separation between regions where the State Government will fund air-conditioning in schools and Nambour.

The Department of Education and Training responded to the Daily's request for information about which areas have funding for air-conditioning.

A spokesman said air conditioning was funded in the "Cooler School Zone which includes the hottest and most humid parts of Queensland".

This zone extends north from Gladstone to the northern tip of the state, and west taking in areas like Roma and Biloela.

"Outside of the Cooler Schools Zone, the provision of air conditioning is a decision for each individual school community," the spokesman said.

But Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Lauren Patte said the average maximum temperature at Gladstone airport in February was 30.5 degrees.

The average February temperature at Nambour was 28.8 degrees.

The Education Department spokesman said "passive cooling measures" were incorporated into schools and classroom designs to reduce temperatures.

"Building orientation, shade from direct sunlight, good ventilation and ceiling fans are among such measures," he said.

"Many schools outside the Cooler Schools zone have elected to air-condition some, or all, classroom spaces either through funding provided by the Parents and Citizens' Association or by using the school's annual minor works allocation. This is a matter for prioritisation at the school level."

There were guidelines for principals to adopt in heatwave conditions, including postponing sport and encouraging students to drink water.

But the notion students would be sent home when the thermometer reached 40 degrees appeared to be myth.

"It is not departmental policy to send students home during periods of excessive heat or heat wave conditions," the spokesman said.


EARLIER: Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will be approached to help fund air-conditioning in the state school he graduated from.

Nambour State College has begun a massive fundraising drive to install air-conditioning in classrooms as the constant hot, humid weather takes its toll on students.

Nambour High has produced a number of notable alumni, including former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, former Treasurer Wayne Swan and liver surgeon Kellee Slater, all who graduated without air-conditioning.


Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd attended Nambour State High school, without the benefit of air-conditioning.
Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd attended Nambour State High school, without the benefit of air-conditioning. SVEN HOPPE

But P&C President Sue Walsh said weather conditions had changed and the heat waves being experienced on the Sunshine Coast were unusual.

This weekend, temperatures are expected to peak at a record 38 degrees as another heat wave moves through the region.

The P&C's plans to air-condition the libraries and then the classrooms have the support of college principle, Dr Wayne Troyahn.

"All students learn best in a supportive environment," Dr Troyahn said.

"Classrooms need to be cooler in the summer heat and warmer in the winter months for students' best chance for learning.

"Thus air-conditioning college libraries and classrooms is necessary to support such a direction."

Parents at Nambour State aren't the only ones arguing it is time classrooms were air-conditioned.

Social media sites have included numerous call-outs for the government and P&Cs to bring a cool change into classrooms.

Ash Mcleod posted on the Sunny Coast Community Board looking for advice on how to go about getting air-conditioning installed in her state school.

Ms Walsh said the Nambour State College P&C would contributed all building fund donations towards the project and would be "actively fundraising throughout the year".

She had previously lived in the Northern Territory and believed weather conditions in Nambour were increasingly become similar to up north.

"Yet all schools in the Northern Territory to my knowledge have air-conditioning," Ms Walsh said.

Alumni like Mr Rudd would be approached for fundraising help.

"Our goal is to provide comfortable learning spaces for students and staff to allow the best learning environment for students to excel," Ms Walsh said.

"Our junior and senior college libraries are a central learning hub so we plan for this to be our first step, we need to raise approximately $130,000.

"Considering global temperatures are increasing yearly our communities need to work to provide healthy and safe conditions for our schools.

"We invite the community to be a part of this journey to create something worthwhile for our future leaders."

The Daily has approached the Education Department for comment on its policies concerning air-conditioning in state schools.

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