Healthier Environment for St Peter Claver School in Toledo Print E-mail
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Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 24 January 2013 00:00

Over 900 students and teachers of St Peter Claver RC School in Punta Gorda, who were once exposed to the dangers of dilapidated asbestos roofs, now enjoy a healthier environment thanks to a Social Investment Fund (SIF) project that removed the asbestos roof from three of the buildings on the school compound.   The project also renovated one of the buildings, which was officially inaugurated on Wednesday, January 23rd, during a ceremony held on the school campus.

The project was implemented by SIF at a total cost of $299,049.00 and financed by the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF5), a program promoting poverty reduction through socio-economic initiatives and community empowerment.  BNTF is jointly financed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and nine beneficiary Governments, including Belize.
The scope of works included the dismantling and disposal of the old asbestos roof of three buildings.  However, only one of the buildings was completely renovated. The other two were disposed by the Management of the St. Peter Claver School.  Disposal of the asbestos and buildings was done in a safe manner using the procedures and guidelines of the Department of the Environment, the Health Department and the Local Building Authority. 

The renovation to the building included the replacement and upgrade of the entire roof, rafters, ceiling, electrical system, all windows and doors, painting and plaster of all internal and external walls and tiling of the floor. A front and back verandah with galvalum roofing and concrete walk ways were also constructed.  The renovated building (91 ft long by 27 ft wide) consists of three classrooms with two movable partitions.  The building is equipped with hurricane storm guard aluminum windows, solid panel doors, security grills, ceiling fans, fluorescent lights and two wall-mounted and two standing chalkboards.

The rehabilitated school building was built in 1950.  This building accommodated some 100 pre-school students and two infant one classes.  It has withstood many hurricanes and earthquakes and the basic structure is still intact, but the roof, windows, doors and electrical system required rehabilitation  and classrooms didn’t had any ceilings.  Due its condition, which posed a health hazard to both students and teachers, the Ministry of Education in conjunction with the Roman Catholic School Management and the Ministry of Health ordered the building to be closed.  The students were subsequently housed in two temporary wooden structures and the Community College Extension Buildings.

Furthermore, the Ministries of Health and Education have recommended that all schools having asbestos roofings should have them removed and replaced with non-hazardous materials, since asbestos is known to cause lung cancer. 

The St. Peter Claver School was founded in 1862 and is managed by the Catholic Public Schools, Toledo.  It is the only primary school in Punta Gorda Town with an enrollment of 969 students (489 females, 480 males) and 40 teachers including the principal. 

The keynote speaker at the official inauguration of the St. Peter Claver School was Hon. Patrick Faber, Minister of Education, Youth and Sports. Other speakers will included representatives of the St. Peter Claver School Management, the Social Investment Fund and UNICEF.