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$1.3 million to renovate schools

Officials examining the work at Erdiston.

Officials examining the work at Erdiston.

About $1.3 million has been spent getting 18 primary and secondary schools ready for the start of classes next Monday.

And, Minister of Education Ronald Jones said today during a tour of schools that all would be ready to open when the Michaelmas term starts on September 10.

Of the schools being renovated, Gordon Walters, Half Moon Fort, Holy Innocents, Selah, Society, St. Catherine’s, St. Giles, St. Joseph, St. Lucy and St. Margaret’s primary, were said to be fully completed.

Grazettes Primary was reportedly 83 per cent completed, Hindsbury Primary, 95 per cent done; St. Paul’s 80 per cent done, and work at St. Matthew’s, Wesley Hall Infants and Workman’s Primary schools were listed at 90 per cent or higher for completeness.

Schools visited today included Wesley Hall Infants, where education officials said work went slightly over budget because when they started to replace the wooden floors they found additional beams that needed replacing as well — as well as in the roof; Hindsbury, where the principal had high praise for the new nutrition centre, and Luther Thorne, where the Parent Teachers’ Association completely refurbished four sets of bathrooms at a cost of about $60,000.

There was a full renovation at the former Erdiston Primary, which is being turned into an alternative secondary academy, as well as the construction of a new industrial arts block at Parkinson Memorial Secondary, both funded outside of the $1.3 million Domestic Summer Programme.

Other schools that were scheduled to be visited by education officials during the day were Reynold Weekes, where two new prefab buildings were being erected; St. Catherine’s, which underwent general repairs and painting as part of the Summer Programme, and The Lodge School, which separately also has ongoing refurbishment.

“We undertook some 18 projects during the vacation in the summer programme. Most of them are in fact completed, just a little clean up, a little brush-up here and there and that will say to us that we are ready to start school with a bang.

“Teachers are in place. We’ve not had any knowledge of any teachers not being placed. We’ve even put in a few new teachers for those who have retired and things like that to ensure that education as a whole will not see any fall out from the current financial rigidities…

“But we will continue to monitor over this week and at the commencement of the first week of students back in place, we will continue to monitor to ensure all is well,” he said. (LB)

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