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94 schools receive facelift in time for new school year

94 schools receive facelift in time for new school year
PRIME MINISTER Dr Ralph Gonsalves

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Ninety-four schools have been given a facelift in time for the start of the new school year next Monday, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves having announced that the $6 million dollars worth of repairs will be finished on them by today.

Further, extensive repairs funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) are set to take place soon for three primary schools, and an additional nine schools will be financed by the CDB in substantive repairs next year.

The repair of the 94 schools was financed by the Government, undertaken over 59 days, on both private and public primary and secondary schools, the Prime Minister stated at a press conference held at the Cabinet room on August 20.

At the time, Gonsalves assured that almost all of the repairs would be executed by August 23, and the remaining work would be completed by today, August 30.

The furniture however will take a longer time, although the assurance has been given that they will be put in place this weekend before the start of school.

The Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves who also spoke on the subject at the press conference, noted that the project involved 73 contractors, 400 workers and took place over 59 days.

“At the end of it I am sure people will come back and say well how they ain’t fix this, well why they come and they ain’t do that part and so on but that’s why I contextualize it,” he stated. “It is for a small country an incredible amount of work, and an incredible commitment to education,” he added.

The Prime Minister announced another project that is being funded through the CDB program Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF), which will include extensive repairs to the Park Hill Government, Calliaqua Anglican and New Grounds Primary school.

The Park Hill School is said to be a $600,000 repair project targeting toilets, windows, putting in place partitions, and a perimeter fence, among other things.

The plan is that a temporary facility will be built on the land beside the playing field to accommodate the students during the repairs. The Prime Minister noted that the temporary place will built in a way that is “temporary, permanent” so that the children will have another facility in Park Hill with which to do something. “Maybe young people can have camps there, and so on when we move back into the school,” the Prime Minister noted.

Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves indicated that the Calliaqua Anglican school will be adding another floor, considering the school “is on a very small plot of land with very little opportunity to expand the land in any directions, so we had to go up to create the additional space.” The Minister, also the constituency representative for Calliaqua, informed that the work will take place over seven to nine months, and that the children will have to be moved for the coming term.

Work on temporary classrooms has already commenced on the land behind the Calliaqua Anglican Church, according to the Minister. The church has offered the space to facilitate the students for “zero rent.”

Although the repairs aren’t likely to start until October, it is the Government’s desire that the temporary facility be fit for use at the beginning of the school year.

The Prime Minister spoke about a third project in which the CDB agreed to finance substantive repairs to nine schools, which are: the Girls’ High School, the St Vincent Grammar School, Bequia Community High, St Clair Dacon Secondary, Sandy Bay Secondary (which will be a completely new school), Thomas Saunders Secondary School, Barrouallie Anglican school, Barrouallie Government School and Kingstown Anglican.

“Two different architects are going to be employed to be the consultants and do all the design what is to be done, and it is expected that the latest that we may go to the CDB with these, with everything to the Board for approval is December,” the Prime Minister revealed. “Which means that next year these repairs would be in full flow,” he added.

The Prime Minister said because of the extensive nature of some of renovations, some students may have to be accommodated elsewhere during the work on these school buildings.