There was finally good news for Pelican Park High School staff and pupils when the Department of Transport and Public Works started a project to upgrade the school and add new facilities, including a school hall.
The R25 million project is expected to be completed in October, if everything goes according to plan.
The project is being implemented in phases to allow the school to remain fully operational during construction.
According to Byron la Hoe, communications officer for the Department of Transport and Public Works, all vandalised doors, windows and ceilings will be replaced. A new hall and a sports field will be constructed while the courtyard will be renovated.
The project also includes repairs on existing walkways and broken bricks will be replaced with new ones.
Designated pathways to separate the walkways from the grass will be built.
Two JoJo tanks will be installed to be filled up with rain water, which will then serve as an emergency water supply, for example, to be used to wet the grass on the sports field.
“Project specifications require the use of material that requires minimal maintenance to re-
duce overall long-term costs,” he said.
The school currently accommodates up to 900 pupils in 30 standard classrooms and several multi-purpose classrooms.
A borehole will be drilled to reduce the municipal water requirements during the construction process and to irrigate the new sports field once the project is complete.
The project will use labour-intensive methods which will provide a limited number of short-term employment as well as skills training opportunities for local people. A total of R1.3 million
will be spent on local labour and suppliers of construction materials.
Principal Carder Tregonning, who was appointed head of the school in 2012, said since then they have been asking the government for an upgrade but more importantly they were lobbying for a school hall.
In 2014 the school requested permission to write a proposal for an upgrade.
“We were put on the upgrade list for April 2015, but nothing happened and there was no feedback.”
He said several consultants were making recommendations until two years ago, and upgrade was set for September 2018. However, still nothing happened. Then they had a meeting in December 2018 and construction work was supposed to start in January.
“There was a delay and works started in February,” said Mr Tregonning.
The upgrade of the sports facilities was also welcomed. “There will be rolled on grass for the sports field and the tarmacs will be converted in a netball court.”
Mr Tregoning said the workers are on-site and it is “exciting times” for the school.
He said the hall was an im-
portant asset. “The hall is where we should have our assemblies and not outside. We had to
cancel many assemblies due to rain which wasn’t good be-
cause a school must have structure.”
He said the challenge for the staff was to be able to look after the facility. “Fortunately the construction company and the school have 24/7 security.”