The Division of Education is investigating reports that “a few students and one teacher have slipped and fallen on the tiles” at the newly built Scarborough Roman Catholic School at at Smithfield Road in Scarborough.
In a release on Monday, the Division said it has received a report of the incidents and “immediately dispatched a team of senior officials from the Project Implementation and School Supervision Units… to further investigate the reports for accuracy and subsequently make the appropriate recommendations to provide feasible solutions to remedy the issue.”
“Additionally, upon receiving the report, the Division also promptly brought the matter to the attention of the Education Facilities Company Limited (EFCL), the Project Management Agency responsible for the construction of the Scarborough Roman Catholic School, with a view of rectifying the problems that have been identified. The EFCL has since responded with a commitment to take the necessary steps to remedy the problems in the shortest possible time,” the Division said.
Chief Secretary and Secretary of Education, Innovation and Energy, Kelvin Charles said, “We want our schools to be havens of safety conducive for learning. I am truly saddened to hear of these incidents and would like to assure the public that the Division is collaborating with the EFCL to rectify the matter.”
The release did not say what injuries, if any, the students and teacher suffered nor if they were offered any support.
The school was commissioned on August 29 in time for the opening of the new school term on September. At that event, in an address had said that the journey of excellence of the school was now positioned into a new environment with a high degree of comfort, safety and ambience.
He said the school was OSHA compliant and easily accessible for the differently abled and was the first of its kind in TT boasting three storeys with 27 classrooms to accommodate 750 students, a staff room, a computer room, a cafeteria, sick bay, a library, a chapel and an elevator.
“This journey to relocate the school to this location was not without many challenges. Many questions arose concerning the origin of the designs, the size of structure, the rooms to be included, the outdoor spaces, the road and the projected cost. While the planning and decision making involved prolonged time, adjustments and reconsiderations, we are at last elated that the agreed structure was completed within time and budget,” he said then.
On August 8, at a post Executive Council media briefing at the Administrative Complex in Calder Hall, Charles said the school was completed within the allocated time and budget. Construction, he said was supposed to have taken place within a planned time frame of 18 months with the THA expending $83 million from an original budget of $85 million.
On the second day of the new school term, officials of the school reported flooding in a classroom and along the corridor, from rainfall. Charles had said the Division was unable to uncover the cause of the problem because no one was around when the flooding began, after heavy rainfall the previous night. He had said that heavy winds might have blown water into that side of the school.
Orlando Kerr, Tobago Officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Unified Teachers Association (TTUTA), has contended that the flooding at the school was caused by poor construction.