Front Page
August 14, 2012
Fire destroys top floor of Kingstown Government School

Assessments are still ongoing in relation to a fire that destroyed the upper floor of a two-storey block of the Kingstown Government School.{{more}}

The fire, which occurred last Thursday, destroyed the principal’s office, the staff room and Grade Six classrooms, leaving only the concrete structure and a section of the roof intact.

With just about two weeks before the reopening of the new school term, Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Education Nicole Bonadie-Baker told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that a decision is yet to be made regarding a relocation plan for students.

“But we will make a decision quickly,” she said.

The PS revealed that ministry officials revisited the site last Friday and then on Saturday, but made no decision as to what steps should be taken.

“We would be having dialogue early this week to get the estimates done and I am sure they will work quickly, because we know that school is around the corner. But, we haven’t taken any decisions as yet whether we would relocate or accommodate the students at that location or at a new location…,” Baker explained.

It was also noted that during their visit on Friday, the “embers were still quite hot” and smoke was observed “coming from some of the filing cabinets…. So we were unable to get close,” explained Baker.

SEARCHLIGHT was also informed that the cause and full extent of the damage is yet to be determined, as investigations are still ongoing.

Meanwhile, Minister of Education Girlyn Miguel recently announced in Parliament that a consultancy has been awarded to do a structural assessment of the Kingstown Government School.

Following the assessment, a decision was to be taken whether to upgrade the school to hurricane shelter standard.

“Now that the fire has come, I can’t say at this stage whether we will be able to speed that up, because the Ministry of Planning is implementing that project … but at this stage I am awaiting advice by the experts to tell us the cost for having the school repaired.

“So, we are still waiting, but we will be continuing dialogue with our colleagues, Ministry of Transport and Works and BRAGSA, because they are the ones who guide us,” the PS stated.

Bonadie-Baker, in a release issued Thursday evening, said “the swift response of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police and the Fire Department averted physical damage to other sections of the school which remain intact.”

She further noted that every effort will be made to inform the principal, staff and parents of the arrangements to be made for the start of the new academic year, which is scheduled for September 3. (AA)