EATING AREA FOR students at the temporary school site at Arnos Vale is still under construction
August 6, 2021
Significant work earmarked for schools in SVG this year

EIGHT SCHOOLS HAVE been earmarked for major repairs, in addition to the construction of a new building to house the Sandy Bay Secondary School, under a joint CDB/ Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) school programme.

MINISTER OF EDUCATION Curtis King in discussion with Lorne Holder, BRAGSA’s on-site representative

These eight schools earmarked for repairs are the Girls’ High School, the St. Vincent Grammar School, Bequia Community High, St. Clair Dacon, Thomas Saunders Secondary, Barrouallie Anglican Primary, Kingstown Anglican Primary, and Barrouallie Government School.

The plans to carry out repairs to these schools and the construction of the Sandy Bay Secondary School were formulated prior to the start of explosive eruptions of La Soufriere volcano on April 9 this year.

The repairs and new construction is funded through a joint project between the Caribbean Development Bank and Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines costing EC$40 million, and is separate from the general schools repair programme of the Government of SVG.

The CDB/Government of SVG funded project has a three-year life span from the signing date of the agreement in January this year.

“We will complete the programme well before the three year,” Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said on WE-FM on Tuesday morning August 3, 3021.

He said that the only component which may go beyond the three-year projected deadline would be the construction of the new building for the Sandy Bay Secondary School.

With the reopening of schools scheduled for October 4 2021, the government is hoping that the 28 schools which still house evacuees would be empty long before, to allow proper cleaning of the facilities to accommodate students and teachers.

Education Minister Curtis King, is keen that all the schools should become available for the reopening of schools in October. He plans to have a proper assessment done of schools which were used as emergency shelters to ascertain the damage done and repair work needed.

“We cannot have our students and teachers returning to a school where the conditions are not conducive to teaching and learning,” he said, as the Government explores plans to acquire accommodation for the remaining evacuees housed in the private accommodation.

There are 26 secondary schools and 61 primary schools, which leaves 59 schools which may need to be repaired outside the CDB-funded schools repairs programme.

WORK ON A section of the temporary secondary school at Black Point for students of Sandy Bay

PM Gonsalves said repairs to the Thomas Saunders Secondary School have encountered a snag as the architect may not be able to get all of the architectural work done, so the repairs to that school would not begin as originally scheduled.

Gonsalves disclosed that students of both the Girls’ High School and the St. Vincent Grammar School will be out of their current locations for a significant length of time to accommodate repairs to the school plants.

This means that another temporary structure would have to be built to accommodate students from these two schools.

“Those two temporary schools would be shared by these three schools on a timely basis,” Prime Minister Gonsalves clarified, referring to additional expansion to the building on the tarmac of the decommissioned ET Joshua Airport that’s being constructed to house the students from the Thomas Saunders Secondary School.

Work has improved significantly on the construction of the building at Black Point to house the displaced students of the Sandy Bay Secondary School.

Following a reassessment of needs, it was decided to construct the building to house those students at Black Point, “to facilitate future use of the facility subsequent to the construction of a permanent secondary school for Sandy Bay and environs,” Gonsalves said.

According to an official of BRAGSA – contractors for the construction of the temporary Sandy Bay Secondary School, “the building should be classroom ready by the middle of September, except one section, due to the late commencement of work by the subcontractor.”

The various components of this project were subcontracted to small contractors to ensure its efficient and speedy completion.