By BABATUNDE ASIFAT
Trainee Reporter Nevis
‘Aim at the sky and you would reach the sun’ is the motto of The Ivor Walters Primary School. This manifested itself when the school building which was evacuated last November, and was returned to its teachers and students on May 8, 2007, and both were filled with joy.
The building had to be evacuated because of work needed to be done in the removal of the lung cancer causing asbestos.
The principal of the school, Mr. Wakely Daniel said the project which was funded by the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) through the Caribbean Development Bank, afforded the school a full refurbishment. “ We had asbestos from grade four to the computer laboratory removed. Apart from the asbestos, a bit of repair was also done. The windows were replaced as well as painting of both the inside and outside of the buildings. The teachers’ bathroom was overhauled making it more genuine and the kitchen area was refurbished. Also, the assembly ground had some repairs” he said.
He added that a soak away was included to improve the drainage system from the teachers bathroom and the kitchen.
Daniel later disclosed that the school moved to the Senior Citizens Home on November 13, 2006 when it was understood that the asbestos had to be removed because of its lung cancer threat.
Even though the school was removed from the threat caused by the asbestos, however, challenges continued at the new school site.
Daniel explained “The stay at the place had its challenges, because the building was built as a house and not a school. Getting 172 students, cramped into the house was not an easy task” he added “we were uneasy there because there was only a small bathroom, toilet and a high level of noise all owing to the fact that the building is a house and not a school” he said
Nevertheless, it was understood by both students and staff that the stay was temporary, so that they endured whatever hardship they faced.
Mr. Daniel furhter stated that the parents have all commented that the refurbished school looks a lot more presentable and that they are pleased to have their school back, a space that is designed to accommodate both students and teachers.
Mr. Blake Errol, the project coordinator, also the head of Blakes Construction and Associate Limited, disclosed that the project was contracted in an amount of approximately 250,000 EC. He added that the renovation that started In January 2007 has reached completion as they only wait to fix the window handles as the last part of the renovation. He said the handles were delayed because they were not available in stores in Nevis.
Although he is pleased with the progress of the project, Blake mentioned some of the challenges faced. “ We were faced with the task of removing the asbestos as we had to put in place proper use of gears like respirator, boots and gloves” he said.
Blake disclosed that in an effort to protect the safe and natural human environment, the removed asbestos were wrapped together, taped and dumped at the Solid Waste Management dumping field.