Education minister says schools prone to flooding will be reviewed

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Michael Browne, the minister of education, said it would be financially feasible to rebuild at least two of the country’s secondary schools.
Several schools are prone to flooding when it rains for even short periods, resulting in entire schools being dismissed for the day.
Browne told OBSERVER media that at least three engineers have informed him that it would be cost effective to rebuild the Princess Margaret and Pares Secondary schools because they are plagued with drainage problems.
“The drainage system is so archaic that we would literally have to rebuild the schools. We have brought in three sets of engineers, we have had three different assessments because when the schools were designed and constructed; there is nothing that can be done now,” Browne said.
The issue of flooding at some schools is common, leaving students and teachers to walk through showers of rain to get to some classrooms that are not attached to the main structure of the school. In the past, many students complained about muddy footwear and catching colds.
“Every single person tells us that the cost to rebuild is way cheaper than to fix it and so that is what we are going to do. We are going to reangle the [Pares] school and put additional blocks around. The drainage system at the Princess Margaret is so archaic that unless you have a crew that is in there everyday
even that won’t help.  The school is in a low-lying area,” he added.
Browne said the drainage runs under the school and would have to be dug up and repaired, which would have to be done gradually to minimise interruptions to the school’s operations.
The St. Mary’s School of Excellence in Jennings is one of the other learning institutions that was identified as being prone to flooding because of its location and not poor drainage issues.
The education minister said once the ongoing construction at the Irene B. Williams School, that started just over three weeks ago, is completed, the St. Mary’s School of Excellence would be next in line to get some much-needed upgrades.
The plans for the school that is located in Jennings village includes three new blocks that would be elevated to minimise the flooding.

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