BASSETERRE, St. Kitts - AFTER much talk during the campaign about constructing the new Basseterre High School (BHS) at the old Victoria Road Campus, work has started to bring an end to the years of discussions.
Work started on Tuesday (Dec. 13) with removal of the roofs and the dismantling of buildings under Phase One of the project; and according to Education Minister Dr. Geoffrey Hanley, he is happy to see small contractors engaged in the project.
While visiting the site to monitor the work, the Minister said it “ is real heartwarming for me when I looked around this morning [and see] the many small contractors that are on site; everyone getting an opportunity to get a piece of the pie and that’s exactly what I intend to do with this project and other projects going forward”.
The learning institution has been at the forefront of political grandstanding by both sides of the political spectrum.
Students were moved from the Victoria Road Campus following the 2015 General Elections after there were complaints of medical issues being experienced by them and their teachers.
The students were subsequently relocated and placed on a shift system.
The then coalition Team Unity Administration under the leadership of Dr. Timothy Harris settled on a site at Pond’s Extension to have the new modern institution constructed.
That, however, did not sit well with the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), as it cited concerns about possible leaks of sewage into the aquifer.
The SKNLP promised to scrap any work on that site and build the institution on the old campus.
In his Budget Address, Dr. Drew noted that the rebuilding of the Basseterre High School is “another important project for implementation by our Government”.
“The travesty surrounding the construction of this school is well known to our people. Madam Speaker, our children and their parents who rely on this school for education services deserve better. Our teachers deserve better. This Administration understands what is at risk here and will do better by our people.
“In short order, we will push forward with the rebuilding of the Basseterre High School at its original location. We are seeking to address the outstanding issues related to the mismanagement of the project, while, at the same time, making plans for the design and other preconstruction activities for the new school. Very shortly we will advance the plans for the demolition of the old school and the preparation of the lands for the new construction,” Dr. Drew said during his presentation.
The Government, meanwhile, intends to progress the work started this year for the design of and reconstruction of the Joshua Obadiah Williams Primary School which was destroyed by fire.
According to the Prime Minister, that would include the addition of a new wing, the modernization of all facilities, as well as the incorporation of design features such as wheelchair access ramps to accommodate persons who are differently-abled.
Since taking office, the Government has revealed that more than $10 million has been spent on clearing and “managing dirt”.