Jul 01, 2016 News
The beleaguered $1B secondary school at Kato, Region Eight, is continuing to give authorities the gripes, with no definite word when it will be opened.
Updating the media yesterday, Minister of State Joseph Harmon, during the post-Cabinet press briefings, disclosed that the facility, one of the most expensive to date, has been delayed yet again. This is because there are still remedial works being carried out to correct major structural defects that were found following the school’s construction.
Harmon disclosed that the Ministry of Public Infrastructure is still working along with the contractor to rectify the defects on the school.
“The contractor who was given the contract, has been called in and they are basically dealing with the Ministry of the Public Infrastructure now in relation to that contract, and several other contracts which that contractor has with the Ministry of Education,” Minister Harmon said.
Kares Engineering had won the contract for the construction of the school which, when it opens its doors, would allow for universal secondary education in the region.
Construction of the school started in 2013 under the previous administration and the edifice was scheduled to be opened in January 2016. This was delayed following the discovery of the defects.
Minister Harmon said that the administration “felt it was not safe to put children into that school.”
News of the defects in the structure of the school was first made public in January, during the consideration of the 2016 estimates and expenditure.
Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan, responding to questions about the budgeted estimates of Region Eight, was questioned about the school’s opening. In responding, he told the House that this was being delayed due to flaws in the school and that these went beyond the construction of the complex to its design.
Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, later revealed that a detailed assessment conducted by his Ministry had found that the concrete work done by the contractor was defective.
The Kato Secondary was initially billed at $780M, but the previous Government had later disclosed that the final tally could be about $1B.
The school is intended to be a modern institution which caters for 400 students, 250 of whom will be accommodated in the dormitory. The school also has an adjoining administrative block, teachers’ quarters, kitchen and sanitary facilities, and apart from the dozen classrooms, it also boasts computer and science laboratories, departments for industrial arts, home economics, visual arts and agriculture.
The previous administration in justifying the costs, had said that the contracting firm utilised timber, sand and stone from within Region Eight. However, cement and other hardware had to be transported by trail and air from Georgetown into Kato by the contractor.
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