BOSTON (WWLP) – The Baker-Polito Administration announced on Monday $100 million in grant funding for school districts to improve their ventilation and indoor air quality.

The grants are available to schools that have high concentrations of underprivileged students, English language learners and communities impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The funding is available through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) bill.

More than 20 school districts are eligible for up to $1 million, with several districts qualifying for several million dollars. School districts are encouraged to focus on efficient, environmentally friendly HVAC and air quality technologies when they plan upgrades, consistent with Governor Charlie Baker’s 2050 net zero pledge.

“This grant funding will address the needs of school facilities and will support important repairs to improve ventilation and indoor air quality, particularly in schools and communities significantly impacted by COVID-19,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Additionally, this funding offers an opportunity for schools to align their buildings with the Commonwealth’s net-zero goal and to make more environmentally-conscious infrastructure upgrades.”

“With these grants, we can direct more resources to school districts with economically disadvantaged student populations that have a greater number of buildings with HVAC systems in need of moderate repairs, major repairs or complete replacement,” said. Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “These grants will allow us to improve air quality for tens of thousands of students and educators in hundreds of school buildings across the Commonwealth.”

School districts can apply for the grants for making HVAC systems and indoor air quality improvements, which could include:

  • Needs assessments of existing school environments, HVAC systems, and indoor air quality to establish a baseline of a school’s existing conditions
  • Feasibility studies to develop long-term indoor air quality plans that improve fresh air exchange rates and reduce or eliminate reliance on fossil fuels
  • Design, bidding assistance and construction phase services for projects to upgrade or replace existing HVAC systems
  • Implementation of indoor air quality improvement plans, securing outsourced services, establishing in-house HVAC maintenance positions, and securing equipment to maintain, repair or install new HVAC systems
  • Implementation of indoor air quality improvement plans, securing services and materials to ensure operability of windows and doors