(GIS) – Following alarming vibrations experienced in Blocks “B” and “C” of the Choiseul Secondary School, particularly after the 2007 earthquake, a structural assessment, concluded that the two blocks were structurally unsafe.
It was recommended that the blocks be demolished, since retrofitting was too expensive and would result in lengthy disruption to the school’s normal operations.
Recently, a high level team comprising of government ministers and technocrats, undertook a site visit to obtain first-hand information on the progress of works which commenced in 2016.
Recalling his anguish at the poor and unsafe conditions that students and teachers had to deal with over the years, Parliamentary Representative for Choiseul, Hon Bradley Felix, expressed satisfaction with the progress of works to date. He noted that the school, upon completion, will be the first of its kind in Saint Lucia and perhaps the sub-region.
“For the community, what we can see here is a resilient building,” Mr. Felix said. “You see the concrete roof, which is something new. For the community, for the education school system, that may be the first of its kind and this school is promised to be one of the more advanced schools both in terms of technology that will be applied to teaching here, in terms of the IT facilities etc. So we’re very happy that we’re one of the leaders in this thing. People might say that we’re a testing ground, but knowing Choiseul, the teachers and the capacity of the students, I am very certain that we will prove to be a good example to start with. So all in all, we are very pleased with what we’ve seen so far.”
Lauding the progress of works, Minister for Economic Development, Housing Urban Renewal Transport and Civil Aviation, Honourable Guy Joseph, indicated that he is particularly impressed with the with the high level of workmanship being undertaken by local artisans.
“When you look at the quality of output of this project, it is one that meets the standards of any international contractor and consultant being on a project,” said Minister Joseph. “Here we have a local consultancy firm and a local contractor who met all the requirements of the World Bank. They are proving that we have the capacity and the capability of executing projects of that nature. What this does for us as an economy and as a country is that it should help build the confidence of our locals.”
Another major advantage for the country, the Minister noted, is the fact that the monies earned from this project will circulate in the local economy.
The model blocks, which will house approximately 650 students, will comprise, among other modern trappings, a sick bay, resource room, technical drawing lab, IT laboratory, music and theatre rooms, and chemistry and physics laboratories.
The new blocks are designed to be earthquake and hurricane resistant and will serve as emergency shelters during natural disasters.
Funded by the World Bank under the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project, DVRP, the Choiseul Secondary School Rehabilitation project, is an integral part of the Governments’ National Investment Plan.
The EC$ 7.8 million initiative is expected to be completed by September 2018.