Basseterre, St. Kitts, August 20, 2015 (SKNIS): Students and teachers of the Basseterre High School (BHS) can expect a more comfortable working environment as temporary arrangements have been made to house them until a new school is built.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education Hon. Shawn Richards announced the ending of the shift system between the Basseterre High School (BHS) and Washington Archibald High School (WAHS) last night (August 19).
During the minister’s address to the nation it was noted that the “Basseterre High School situation continues to be a matter of significant concern and a priority for the government” and will err on the side of caution since testing was inconclusive at the BHS compound.
As such, “for the new 2015 school year, the Government of St Kitts and Nevis will continue to house the children of the Basseterre High School in temporary accommodations until a new school is built.” Several locations within a small radius have been sourced.
“The first formers, along with the staff, will be accommodated at the Warner Park Cricket Stadium. It is proposed that the second formers will be accommodated in spaces at the Methodist School Room,” stated the Minister, noting that negotiations are underway. “The third formers will be housed in an already constructed wooden building that will be moved from the grounds of BHS to the parking lot area at WAHS. This building will be completely sanitized before the third formers take possession of it. The fourth formers will be provided space at the Washington Archibald High School. The fifth formers will continue to occupy the space at the Premier Dental building that they used last term. Children in Learning Support classes will be housed in spaces at the Zion Moravian Church Complex.”
The Minister further revealed that “additional auxiliary staff will be deployed to the BHS to facilitate security and effective transitioning of students and teachers throughout the school day. A further meeting will shortly be convened with the Parent Teachers’ Association (PTA) of both institutions to discuss this arrangement.”
The Minister Richards said “with regards to the housing of the first formers, second formers and staff, this arrangement is only expected to last for the first term. Very shortly, construction will commence on buildings to more comfortably and adequately accommodate these persons.”
The Minister has stated over the past week “the government has been evaluating several different solutions with regard to temporary structures.”
Those options included bringing modular units out of the United States at a cost of over EC $4 million and also constructing wooden buildings at a cost of approximately EC $3 million.
“The pros and cons of each building type were evaluated by the stakeholders along with technical persons within and outside of the government. A decision has now been taken by the Cabinet to build three new building blocks with six classrooms in each building at a temporary site. These buildings will be a hybrid of the modular and wooden type and are budgeted at a cost of EC $3.3 million. Each building will be connected via canopy links and will be outfitted with water heater coolers and sinks.
Additionally, there will be seated benches, air conditioning and ceiling fans along with fire extinguishers. They will each have an eight hundred gallon vertical potable water tank attached to them with a pump system. Space will be provided for refuse and waste enclosure and a galvanize chain link fence will be erected around the premises. The work on the structures is expected to take fifteen (15) weeks. Hence, these new spaces should be fully ready for occupation for the second school term which commences January 4, 2016.”
The Deputy Prime Minister stated that “the government remains resolute in its commitment to bringing about a permanent solution to this situation. The technical persons from the relevant ministries have already been hard at work on the necessary plans for the construction of a new school.”