Fixing schoolhouses' ventilation systems delayed

Furniture in front of a schoolhouse.
Furniture in front of a schoolhouse. Source: ERR/Martin Dremljuga

The government's allocated €30 million for upgrading schools' ventilation systems had only been used so far by half of those local governments interviewed, meaning the work is delayed.

Of the 60 local governments which answered to the survey conducted by the Association of Estonian Cities and Municipalities (AECM), only half have used their component of the €30 million subsidy. For example, Tartu city government is reconstructing the Ristheina nursery for €4.1 million, while €1.9 million of this originates from the state subsidy.

"Ventilation cannot be done alone. Ventilation also needs to be rebuilt, finished. These are done in a complex, together with the reconstruction of the nursery," Priit Humal, Tartu deputy mayor, said.

From the 60 schools and nurseries in Tartu, around half need a ventilation system. In Humal's assessment, €400 million is required to carry this out, and even then the work may take longer than a year.

"I can't say now that if the state gave us €400 million, we would be able to do everything in one year. Obviously not, there are other limiting factors here. But this €2 million that the state has given to Tartu is not near enough to the actually needed amount," Humal said.

The Ministry of Education and Research has estimated that €350 million would be spent on modernizing the ventilation systems of all Estonian schools and nurseries. However, the Tartu city government is considering the complete reconstruction of the buildings, the ministry has only considered ventilation systems.

An official from the Ministry of Education and Research, Indrek Riisaar, says that the support of €30 million can be used until December when a more detailed overview can be made of what the local government money was spent on.

"We are also developing a so-called CO2 measure for school ventilation and energy efficiency. We hope to send this measure to the public in the coming days and open around as soon as possible. The round is expected to cost €15 million," Riisaar said.

The current pace allows one nursery and one school to be fixed in Tartu every year. For the first week as Deputy Mayor, Humal hopes to pick up the pace and assess whether ventilation systems can be fixed without renovating the buildings.


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Editor: Roberta Vaino

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