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Crooked Island school finally repaired

Family Island News
TRAVIS CARTWRIGHT-CARROLL
Guardian Staff Reporter
travis@nasguard.com

Published: Oct 16, 2013

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CROOKED ISLAND – More than two years after Hurricane Irene severely damaged Colonel Hill High School on Crooked Island, students were finally able to relocate to their school on Monday, October 7th.

Minister of Education, Science and Technology Jerome Fitzgerald had promised that the school would be open in September.

In a statement, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said: “School started on September 2, in the rented facility and the new school was ready for occupation on Tuesday, October 1, although students did not attend on that date.

“The ministry is satisfied that the repairs carried out will allow the school to operate as normal for the principal, eight teachers and 30 students at the Colonel Hill High School.”

The students were relocated to a guesthouse in September 2011.  The Nassau Guardian visited the area back in 2012 and noticed that a nightclub and bar were on the same property as the school.

The statement said the supplemental works started on September 30, they were completed on October 1 and the cost was $9,000.

The statement added that the repairs were executed in addition to the works done under the $280,000 contract awarded to Renzo Construction earlier this year.

However, Parent Teacher Association President Edith Bain said teachers and students were forced back into the school on September 27, while work was still ongoing at the school.

“Please be advised that the children of Crooked Island High School were out of the classroom last week because the school was not ready for them,” said Bain in an email to The Nassau Guardian.

“This left the teachers traumatized emotionally and the local pastors had to go and pray with them so that their spirits could be lifted.

“Note also that workmen were still on the premises with the tractor working feverishly trying to ready the school for occupancy.

“The parents wrote to the minister of education asking him to allow the school to remain where it was until at least December and we got no answer from him, rather the authorization was handed down on [September 27] to move immediately.  Why the haste to move?

“We do not know, but we refused to send our children in that environment last week.”

Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) President Belinda Wilson said the union’s concern is that teachers may not have enough space to operate.

The Nassau Guardian understands that half of the school was bulldozed and the other half was repaired.

During his first year in office, Fitzgerald had boasted of a multimillion-dollar school upgrade around The Bahamas, but never mentioned Colonel Hill High School until The Nassau Guardian published a story on the school’s plight.

The school remained almost untouched after Hurricane Irene until earlier this year when work started.

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