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Repair of Girls' High School, seen her on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, may not be completed for another two years.
Repair of Girls’ High School, seen her on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023, may not be completed for another two years.
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Girls’ High School (GHS) may have to remain at its temporary location at the decommissioned airport in Arnos Vale for a further two years.

Thomas Saunders Secondary School students will also have to take classes there for longer than initially anticipated.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said the GHS campus at Richmond Hill is in a worse state than initially thought and a further EC$6 million – three times the original estimate — may be needed to complete the repairs.

He said this is the case as the government is facing an increased price tag for the repairs of schools, including the Bequia Community High, which has more than doubled, and with the estimated cost of repair now exceeding EC$6 million.

At the same time, the new secondary school in North Windward would need EC$20 million in addition to what was budgeted.

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He said his government has alerted the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), which is financing the school repair programme, that it would need to borrow more money.

Sandy bay Secondary School, a wooden structure, was destroyed during the April 2021 eruption of La Soufriere and the government had estimated that its replacement, designed to accommodate 250 students, would have cost EC$12 million.

However, the replacement school will be built in Orange Hill, where the great house used to be located.

“People in the northeast area, that’s where they want it. So, I go along with them,” Gonsalves said, adding that the request for that location is reasonable.

“I may even say it’s the perfect location for the school in that area. But the cost, as I said, is a number rising over $20 million additional …”

He said repair of Bequia Community High was supposed to cost EC$3 million but is “six point something now”, adding that there was “a slight redesign issue there”.

Gonsalves said:

“The one which … the numbers are going to jump very high is the Girls’ High School …  where that was looking like a 3-million-plus rehabilitation. It looks as though we have to do a further six million or thereabouts because we basically now have to do … a new building at Grimble Hall.”

He said the engineers are recommending that the government demolish the existing building and build a new one with the same architectural features.

“It’s not a distinctive architectural building; it has historical importance,” Gonsalves said, noting that it was the first building at GHS.

He said that when the private consultant examined the school, it “generally was in a bad state.

“But between then and 2023, it has deteriorated, as you’re doing the work, completely. And I mean, it’s in a shambles, that particular building which would mean that the students will have to stay at Arnos Vale, that’s the Girls’ High School students, for another year and a half, a year and three quarter, two years, that kind of a frame,” Gonsalves said.

He said a new building would have to be designed and all the processes gone through.

“We have to make the application for the additional monies through the CDB. It’s additional debt but the point is this, the education of our children is important. It’s a burden. But there are benefits. There are no benefits without burdens. You can’t fly on one wing,” Gonsalves said.

He said that the price of repairs of Thomas Saunders Secondary School, also in Richmond Hill, is increasing and students will have to stay a little longer at their temporary campus at the decommissioned airport.

“Because similar kinds of questions,” Gonsalves said, adding that he was not saying that the consultants did not do a job as well as they should have done.

“Sometimes, they might do an assessment but when you go to the actual rehab of the building a later period after the consultancy was done, you see some actual problems which were not assessed at the time by the consultant, independent consultant which means that we will have to do some renovations and over the summer.”

He noted that the two temporary schools in Arnos Vale are built of plywood with wooden floors.

“But hundreds of children run up on them and when you have dance classes, in some cases, jumping on them…” Gonsalves said, adding, “But we will do what is required.”

He said the cost of repairs of Kingstown Anglican School would also “come in much higher than originally anticipated.

“So, too, the one up at Carapan, St. Clair Dacon. These are big numbers and the cost, anybody who’s building will know the cost of construction has gone up tremendously. In this case, in addition to those costs, I’m talking about the original assessment which was done and what has happened subsequently, some deterioration.”

5 replies on “School repair prices skyrocket; GHS could remain at Arnos Vale for 2 more years”

  1. So who to be blame for all of this why persons who are responsible allow these to run down like this this country resources have gone to the dogs the country is being mismanaged it is evident these men can’t handle it Watch ah time

  2. If ar yo bin ah do maintainance on them also Milton cato, den day would not ah been in a rotten state, very disgraceful.

  3. kendol Gibson says:

    This type of delay happens when the scope of work had not been properly assessed and work order and schedule is not in place.

    poor project and construction management

  4. Ralph is the Prime minister for more than 20 years and allowed these schools to deteriorate so terrible. Well he wanted four more years and has done very little for over 20 years.
    All the money spent on AIA isn’t bringing in any money to help Vincentians. I’ve always maintained that only folks in the diaspora who’d like to fly directly to SVG would benefit. I predicted the locals will feel and take the heat. Now they are!
    Education is key to the success of any nation and when it is a problem the nation is reduced to nothing. More money was spent hiring more police and nothing for schools. Take you pick: the police or the schools!

  5. The ulp government must take all the blame for this, they don’t know how to spent small amounts of money to maintain, only large amounts they know to spend, when things get out of hand, and we the taxpayers paying the price

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