Stakeholders receiving a tour of a refurbished classroom. In foreground, from left: ILACO Project Director and Manager Ravindra Patandin, NRPB Director Claret Connor, Sr. Regina School Vice-Principal Joanne Arrundell, and ECYS Minister Rodolphe Samuel.
PHILIPSBURG--With the necessary operational repairs now complete, Sr. Regina Primary School pupils are now expected to finish off the 2020/2021 school year in refurbished buildings that are safer, watertight, and more hurricane-resilient.
The works at Sr. Regina were part of the school repair activities under Emergency Recovery Project I of the St Maarten Trust Fund, which is funded by the government of the Netherlands, managed by the World Bank and implemented by the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB).
Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) Rodolphe Samuel and his supporting staff, representatives of the Ministry of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI, NRPB Director Claret Connor, and representatives of Foundation Catholic Education St. Maarten SKOS toured the school premises on the afternoon of Friday, June 11.
During the tour, NRPB’s project team, representatives of contractor Windward Roads BV, and project supervisor ILACO Suriname NV performed a final check of the completed works, which included electrical, plumbing, and repairs to the roof, perimeter fence, shutters, doors, windows, gutters, and downspouts.
The tour was followed by an official handover ceremony, where Connor handed over the final documents to SKOS Facilities Manager Crenscencio Pers.
“Safe spaces to learn are vital for the education of our children,” said Connor. “With the completion of these necessary repairs at Sr. Regina, we have collectively taken another step in securing the betterment of future generations. The NRPB, through the Trust Fund, is delighted to have seen these works to completion.”
“The Ministry of VROMI has been involved with rendering advice to the Ministry of Education with regard to the technical aspects and assistance during the execution phase for the rehabilitation of the schools,” said VROMI Minister Egbert Doran. “With the restoration of the schools currently taking place, I am pleased to know that we’ve contributed to ensuring that the sanctuaries of the students and teachers are back in place. The students are the future generation of our beautiful island.”
“We are very appreciative and satisfied with the work done at Sr. Regina School,” said SKOS Executive Director Lilia Aventurin-Hodge. “The working relationship was really fruitful with all the parties involved, and we are happy to return to the premises.”
A total of 19 schools were selected by the Ministry of ECYS for repairs under this project. The repairs were separated into three batches.
Sr. Regina was part of the first batch, along with St. Joseph Primary School and Leonald Conner Primary School. The repairs to Sr. Regina and Leonald Conner started in the first week of March, while the work on St. Joseph started sometime later due to preparations for asbestos removal.
The works were scheduled to take approximately 100 days, provided there were no unanticipated issues during the repairs. The construction time per school depended on several factors, such as the school’s size, the extent of the damages, and whether the premises were completely vacated during repairs. The repairs to Leonald Conner and St. Joseph are expected to be completed within seven weeks.
An Education Logistics Plan was developed with each individual school board and management team so that students’ education was impacted as little as possible during the works.
As part of Sr. Regina’s Education Logistics Plan, the school used parts of the campus that was not under construction, as well as the adjacent Simpson Bay Community Center. Access to the construction zone was restricted and contact between students and workers was prohibited. NRPB will bear all of Sr. Regina’s costs in moving back to the upgraded building.
NRPB thanked SKOS and the management and staff of Sr. Regina Primary School for their assistance and cooperation in executing these much-needed repairs. NRPB also thanked parents and guardians for their understanding and patience.