THE newly reconstructed Blocks B and C at the Choiseul Secondary School, delivered under the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP), form part of the Government’s mandate to provide climate-resilient schools throughout the country.
The Government of Saint Lucia – through the Department of Economic Development, Transport and Civil Aviation hosted a handover ceremony for the newly reconstructed Blocks on Monday May 13, 2019 at 2:00p.m. after a long wait by parents, students, teachers and the principal.
Designs for reconstruction of Blocks B and C were commissioned following alarming vibrations witnessed by users after a strong earthquake in November 2007. As noted in the Design Report of 2015, a structural assessment in 2011 recommended that the two blocks be reconstructed, as retrofitting to increase their service life was too expensive.
In May 2017, a high-level team of government ministers and technocrats graced the school’s property, accompanied by the contractor and supervising consultant to put pen to paper, signalling the formal commencement of the long-anticipated DVRP-funded initiative. To complement the investment, the GOSL also contracted local suppliers for the supply of furniture, computers, science equipment and music and theatre arts equipment for the amount of XCD$926,753.00
The ultra-modern infrastructure meets international standards by being child friendly, aesthetically pleasing, climate resilient, and structured to provide the optimum learning environment to engender the best possible results from teachers and students.
At a December 2018 site visit, Lead Climate Change Specialist and World Bank Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR) Focal Point, Raul Alfredo Pelico remarked that Choiseul Secondary School is “a world class project.” The model reconstructed buildings which accommodate approximately 650 students (294 males and 301 females ) and 51 teachers, include, among other modern trappings, a sick bay, learning resource room, Technical Drawing laboratory, Electronic Document Preparation Management laboratory, Music and Theatre Arts rooms, Chemistry and Physics laboratories and access for the physically challenged to accommodate students and the wider community.
In keeping with the DVRP’s goal of building national climate resilience, the following climate-smart features are integrated in the buildings: a 25Kw roof-mounted photovoltaic system, a rain water harvesting system featuring a 20,000-gallon water tank, water efficient toilets and hurricane-proof windows and roofs. The reconstructed blocks are also designed to cater for earthquake risk and can serve as emergency shelters during natural disasters. The total project value funded through the DVRP, including construction, supervision services and supply of furniture and equipment is XCD $10,123,734.00.
Constructed within budget, the project was supervised by local consultant of Choiseul, Gilbert Fontenard and constructed by local Contractor OB Sadoo Engineering Services, demonstrating the undisputed high level of workmanship available locally.
Other climate resilient initiatives achieved under the DVRP are the reconstruction of a section of the Cannelles roadway and Denney Infant School, National Spatial Data Infrastructure, Support for Rainwater Harvesting, Coral reef enhancement at Point sable Environmental Protection Area, capacity building and institutional strengthening for the Department of Infrastructure.
Planned activities include Construction of Micoud Secondary and Wellness Centre, Volet Culvert Crossing, Piaye Bridge and Community centres at Bexon, Piaye, Blanchard and Marcus Garvey.
In addition, the DVRP provides access to special financing for households and businesses to implement resiliency measures through the Climate Adaptation Financing Facility (CAFF) disbursed by the Saint Lucia Development Bank.
The official handover ceremony was live-streamed on the DVRP’s Facebook page: Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project Saint Lucia.