EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
EDUCATION Minister Jeff Lloyd said yesterday nine schools are in need of critical repair at a cost of $7.2m.
With about six weeks until administrators and teachers are expected to report to work, Mr Lloyd said school repairs have already begun.
“We have schools that are in critical need of repairs (costing) $7.2m, those are indispensable. There is no option. We have to address those,” Mr Lloyd said yesterday as he left Cabinet.
“Just recently Government High School had a circumstance where concrete was falling from one of the columns, so that’s the critical nature. We are talking about safety for our students and teachers, administrators so we have to address it.”
He also said: “That is why it’s so important that those who receive those contracts are people who will get the job done, which means it’s not banking hours. You are working from nine to five. These tasks require that you expend the time required. That is you’re going to be working 12, 14, 15-hour days and seven days a week, that’s just the nature of it because look here today is July 2. Naturally you are looking at school being ready.”
Mr Lloyd said education officials will also have to redirect money in the budget to address issues left at two public schools after separate fires caused damage.
Fire completely destroyed four single-storey classrooms at the Huntley G Christie School in Nichols Town, Andros last month.
Unfortunately, Mr Lloyd said a new block of classrooms will not be ready for the start of school in September and officials are in the process of assessing what it will cost for the construction.
In the meantime, officials are considering alternative accommodations for students.
As for Anatol Rodgers Senior High School, Mr Lloyd said the task will be somewhat easier as the size of the school provides alternatives.
A portion of that school was damaged by fire in June. Officials said at the time they believe arsonists were to blame for a blaze in the woodwork room. There was also an attempt to set fire to the school’s tuck shop.
“We are going to have to rearrange our budget to accommodate those circumstances,” Mr Lloyd said. “It sets you back. It causes you to have to arrange your priorities,” he added.