by Eulana Weekes
St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Repairs on a block at the Irish Town Primary School are expected to take place throughout the course of the 2022 summer vacation according to the Minister of Education, the Hon. Jonel Powell.
Questions were raised on social media about the structural integrity of the Irish Town Primary School when an individual who identified himself as a teacher claimed that there were infrastructural issues at the school.
The post reads, “There is an issue plaguing the institution that I am currently employed at, which directly affects me. I am the assigned teacher at the Irish Town Primary specifically Grade 6. My class is in a hazardous environment, the class could potentially fall in and there is a possibility of building slippage. That cannot be right! The children are at risk. We live in a zone where tremors are frequent. I pay my taxes to resolve those very problems, such as schools’ infrastructural issues being addressed when they arise.”
Minister Powell responded on social media, addressing the teacher’s claims.
“Allow me to clear the air on the situation at the Irishtown Primary School. There is no building slipping, there is no land slippage and there is no immediate threat of danger to teachers or students. There is a construction defect in part of a building that requires correction, so the affected classrooms have been vacated out of precaution.”
The WINN FM News Team spoke to the Principal Engineer of M.E.C Engineering Solutions, Mr. Isaiah Newman who did a preliminary site visit and observation of the affected building block where the structural integrity is allegedly compromised. According to Newman, “the visual inspection was done in early October and the company found the block unsafe to occupy.”
Newman confirmed the contents of the company’s Structural Pathology and Assessment Proposal, which states that ” this adverse deterioration has manifested over a period of a few years which signals that the compromising of the structure is ongoing.”
The WINN FM News Team on Wednesday, February 9, 2022 spoke to Minister Powell about the issue.
He said, “As it relates to the Irish Town Primary School, the structural defects that [have] been identified, pertains to the ceiling in two classrooms, which also acts as a flooring for the two classrooms above it. It seems to be defective in that it has what one may call a belly in that structure and so the engineers at Public Works have identified the works that need to be done. We also have the benefit of an independent engineering report.”
Minister Powell also indicated that the work is slated for the summer break. He said the time period was decided upon as there will be less interruptions because school will be on break and also, to allow time for a steel frame to be designed and built to provide additional support and rectify the issue.
The Minister of Education again denied claims of land slippage at the school and said there is no movement of the building.