CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Years after routine maintenance fell behind, Chesterfield County Public Schools is making millions of dollars worth of improvements to their air quality.
Recently, the school board approved two grant resolutions, allocating federal COVID relief funds to pay for air quality upgrades throughout the county.
“Major maintenance was one of the areas where it was just done at a very minimal level,” Josh Davis, Chief Operations Officer for Chesterfield Schools, said. “Things were replaced when they broke, and that was unsatisfactory. It really was.”
Twelve schools are set to receive Ultraviolet disinfectant lights for their air systems, costing a little over $1.7 million dollars. The schools were chosen based on a recent air quality report with the intent to upgrade their equipment to prevent future problems.
“There were just too many schools with major issues that had cropped up again and again and that were destined to repeat themselves and get worse,” Davis said.
This comes after the county faced health concerns when Legionella bacteria was found at several schools. Now that the school division was able to fix these concerns, they are hoping these new improvements will prevent this problem from happening again.
“They’ll be newer systems less prone to any type of breakdown, but especially the biological agents that caused such a problem, not only here, but in other localities several years ago,” Davis said.
The other $7.8 million are being spent on a larger air quality project at James River High School. This includes replacing the rooftop air conditioning units currently in use at the school.