$6 million for school repairs

$6 million for school repairs
Director of Public Works, Melanie Roach. (BIS photo)

The Ministry of Education has earmarked $6 million to carry out school repairs in New Providence for the new school year, Director of Public Works Melanie Roach revealed Friday.

Roach said that each year, the Ministries of Works and Education, are compounded by infrastructural repairs at various schools in New Providence. And while a year-round maintenance plan is in place, major work is limited to the two-month summer window.

“Unfortunately the end users of the schools do not take as good care of the schools as we would wish,” Roach said.

“There is a full team of persons who do repairs as they are needed but, we use the summer to do concentrated efforts that require more time and resources.”

Currently the Ministry of Works is in the process of updating its contractor data as well as the tendering and payment certificate process. Roach stressed that only contractors that pre-qualify will be allowed to bid for the New Providence School Repair Program.

When asked why the Ministry waited so late to select contractors, Roach said, they are well ahead of the curve.

“We are already far advanced,” she said.

“We have prepared the scope of works and we have priced them so that once prequalified contractors have been identified, it will shorten the process.  We plan to have contractors ready to move by the first week in July.

Although $6 million has been identified for repairs, Roach said, that is subject to change, as initial costs for repairs now range from $35,000 to $700,000.

“Things happen. Sometimes when we go in there and we discover structural issues that were not expected. So, the budget fluctuates.”

Roach also pointed out that in cases where the work of contractors are not up to par, they are not paid.

“They would have to go back and correct what is not done properly. No contractor is given money until the principal signs a satisfaction notice.”

For schools in the Family Islands, Roach said the ministry is hoping to hire structural engineers to determine if schools need to be repaired or replaced.

That, she said, would require funding to the tune of $500 million and public works is seeking financial approval.