School repairs making progress, work on three more schools to start in January

School repairs making progress, work on three more schools to start in January

Repairs to Sint Maarten’s schools are making satisfactory progress, as evidenced by ongoing work at three (3) schools in the Cul de Sac basin. Preparations are also in full swing to start repairs at another three schools in January 2023.

A total of 19 schools were chosen by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) for repairs under the Sint Maarten Trust Fund’s Emergency Recovery Project (ERP-1). The program seeks to ensure that schools are more hurricane resilient and safe to use under regular conditions. As such, the scope of works specifically focuses on repairs to roofs, doors, and windows, as well as mold remediation, electrical work, plumbing, and the installation of hurricane shutters.

As of September 2022, the repairs to three schools have been completed, while works are currently underway at Milton Peters College (MPC), St. Dominic High School, and Methodist Agogic Centre (MAC) Comprehensive Secondary Education. The repairs to all three schools are expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Repairs to Sister Regina Primary School, St. Joseph Primary School, and Leonald Conner Primary School were completed in the second half of 2021. A round of additional work is about to begin at Leonald Conner, comprising minor repairs to enhance safety and security.

In the coming weeks, the contract for the remaining 13 schools will be signed. Because of the large number of schools to be repaired under this contract, the work will be done in four (4) batches. The decision on how to group the schools was done in consultation with the Ministry of ECYS. The work on each batch will take an average of four months.

The three schools to be repaired in the first phase are MAC Browlia F. Maillard Campus, Hillside Christian School Helmich Snijders Campus, and St. Maarten Academy PSVE. The work will start in the first quarter of 2023, barring unforeseen delays due to global material shortages and supply chain issues.

In the second quarter of 2023, work on the schools on the second batch are expected to begin. These schools are Sundial School, Sister Borgia Primary School, and the University of St. Martin (USM).

The third batch – consisting of St. Dominic Primary School, Sister Magda Primary School, St. Maarten Academy, and the Seventh-Day Adventist School – is expected to start in the third quarter of 2023. The last batch is scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2023 and the schools slated for repairs are Hillside Christian School Asha Stevens Campus, MAC John A. Gumbs Campus, and the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA).

For every school in the repair program, Education Logistics Plans are developed with each school board and management team to mitigate the negative effects that the repairs can have on students and teachers. Several options for the seamless continued education of students are thoroughly investigated by the Ministry of ECYS, the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB), and the school boards.

The school repair program started in 2021, following repairs to other critical public buildings, such as the Philipsburg and Simpson Bay police stations and the radiosonde building of the Meteorological Department of Sint Maarten (MDS), which were deemed necessary steps to improve Sint Maarten’s resilience to natural disasters after the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma.

“Allow me to share thanks and gratitude towards the NRPB. Hurricane Irma is five years behind us, but the reminders are very present. An incomprehensible reality. Repairs are scheduled for the remainder of schools needing attention and safety. I hope to see these repairs taking place as agreed. Students, educators, and staff be aware of the magnitude of care I have for these schools. The effort and commitment I give towards the goal of completing repairs are significant to me. I thank everyone for their patience and understanding, as I too would have loved to see the repairs executed much faster,” said Minister of ECYS Rodolph Samuel.

“I want to thank the teachers and management of each school in the program, as well as the students, and parents and guardians, for their understanding during the repairs. We recognize that the works may cause some inconvenience, but we are confident that, when the work is completed, you will be satisfied with the safer, enhanced learning spaces that have been provided with the invaluable assistance of Ministry of ECYS and the World Bank,” said NRPB Director Claret Connor.

ERP-1 is one of the projects of the Sint Maarten Trust Fund, which is financed by the Government of the Netherlands, managed by the World Bank, and implemented by the NRPB on behalf of the Government of Sint Maarten