Fires pose challenge to school repairs budget
While expressing “deep concern” about recent fires at two separate government schools, Minister of Education Jeff Lloyd said yesterday that the ministry’s budget will have to be adjusted to ensure that the schools are ready for September.
“You’re looking at budgets that have been set for the summer repair program at the schools,” Lloyd said.
“As you know, that did not and will not cover the entirety of the desired repair program but nevertheless we have to make do with what we have. Now, these two fires are going to necessarily make that budget be adjusted.
“This is just unfortunate, very unfortunate because when you’re talking about summer repairs, you’re talking about some carpentry work, some mechanical work, some electrical work and plumbing work and so on. But, when you’re talking about a fire, you’re talking about having to reconstruct which is much more expensive and even more time consuming.”
A fire erupted at Anatol Rogers Senior High School on Sunday morning, police reported.
According to reports, officers were notified that a building was on fire on the premises and upon responding discovered that someone had set fire to the wood work room, causing extensive damage.
While noting that the incident is believed to be arson, police said there was also an attempt to set fire to the tuck shop.
This incident came days after a fire erupted at the Huntley P. Christie High School in Andros.
According to the Ministry of Education, the fire severely damaged the school’s mathematics block.
Lloyd said he anticipates the damaged buildings at the school campus will be ready for September.
“The assessment is underway and the Ministry of Works’ technical team along with our technical team led by Mr. Donovan Turnquest, deputy permanent secretary, are reviewing,” he said.
“[They] have gone to Andros to look at that situation so we’re waiting for the engineers to come back and tell us what exactly the expectation is.”
Asked how much the repairs are expected to cost, Lloyd said, “…We’re going to examine that and see what it is, what it’s going to cost us. Hopefully, it wouldn’t be too expensive but when you’re talking about fire, you’re talking about the plumping, the electrical, the mechanical…It’s a composite of concerns that we have this morning, I can tell you that.”
The minister said fires will not “disable the use” of the schools’ campuses.