A tour of C.R. Walker Senior High School revealed yesterday that the school will not be ready when teachers return to the classroom next week.
School Principal T. Nicole McKay said that while she is grateful for the renovations that were long overdue, she will have to make contingency plans for teachers and possibly students.
“I see over the previous years, they would have come in and seen the deterioration that was going on, knew that it would be a massive task and waited for the right time,” she said.
“We have extensive work going on at all of the major buildings, but it’s something that had to be done.”
She added, “It seems as if they are touching every section of the school. I know because of the massiveness of it, it will affect perhaps our teachers not being able to be accommodated on this site, but I’m really, really grateful to the ministry for at least doing what they’re doing at C.R. Walker.
“We are looking forward to them being finished, so we would make up a strategic plan to see where we can house our teachers for the duration of the week beginning next week, and if they need to go further, then we need to put a plan in place where we can accommodate our students, but this is a must.
“It’s necessary and it had to be done.”
McKay said that new students, who are scheduled to have orientation on August 29, will certainly be impacted by the renovations, and she already has a plan in place to accommodate them in a neighboring church. However, she is unsure what exactly will happen to the school’s 1,000 students should work continue past September 2, when schools are scheduled to open for all students.
“The plan is we are right now putting our heads together,” she said.
“When we get word from the contractors as to the possible date, we are sitting together trying to come up with a plan to see where we could house the students.
“I don’t know if there is anywhere else big enough to accommodate them.
“We may have to go on a shift system, but we are working on that plan.
“The major thing is we are just so grateful that these renovations are being done, because it has to be done, and in order for them to be done, we cannot be in here. I know the teachers will be understanding and the parents could understand because we want our students in a safe environment.”
McKay said that while some of the 75 teachers at the school will likely be inconvenienced next week, she is certain they will be happy to see the improvements.
“It might have taken a long time in coming, but it’s necessary and I’m certain that when the teachers come in now, we’re going to have to find a plan and see where we can house our teachers,” she said.
Bahamas Union of Teachers President Belinda Wilson said she is doubtful that the campus will be ready in time.
“I’m not confident and I would have said and I reiterate to the minister and his team to look for the alternative sites,” she said.
“Even look at maybe a shift system or a rotation for students, so you may have probably the grade 10 [students] come in one day, then 11 the next day and grade 12 [students] the next day for this campus, and then [the same] for other campuses.”
C.R. Walker is just one of a number of schools undergoing extensive repairs and renovations over the summer break. During a tour of several of those schools at the end of July, Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd assured that they would be ready by the time school opens.
However, he said earlier this week that bad weather has hampered progress.