Eagle Hall Primary School opened this morning for eager pupils a week after the start of the Michaelmas school term.
The children’s extra week of vacation was courtesy delays in the summer repair programme.
Principal Orlando Jones told Barbados TODAY he was pleased with the refurbishment of the school thus far.
“I am happy about what I have seen here after a week delay in school preparations and we are ready and we are hitting the ground running as teachers are prepared and they are excited and the children are excited to be back at school and they too are ready,” Jones said, adding that most repairs to the school have been fulfilled.
“The repairs at the school have all been fulfilled to the extent that they can go but yes, we will still need the other repairs to be fulfilled,” he said.
Jones also told Barbados TODAY that the school was safe and that all classrooms had undergone industrial cleaning.
“All of the rooms are clean and ready we had industrial cleaning inside and the rooms smell fresh and good. The rooms painted and everything by parents and a church called Mount Zion there at Wavell Avenue, they came in and gave us tremendous help, so we are ready,” Jones said, adding that the school’s exterior would be painted when the school receives financial assistance.
Jones issued a plea to corporate Barbados to buy paint for the school to finish the job.
“Soldiers of the Defence Force are quite willing and ready to come and do the paint. From the time I get the paint here they will hit the ground running and come and paint the exterior of the school,” Jones told Barbados TODAY.
President of the Parent Teacher’s Association Allison Riley said she was pleased that the school reopened but admitted that the refurbishment was not completed to plan.
“The children need to be at school and as the president of the PTA I am sorry for the lateness. To have the children back at school is a pleasure. The project wasn’t to plan and hopefully in future endeavours, we will be able to finish it up,” she said.
Fellow parent Shelly-Ann Smith said that despite her being happy with the school’s reopening her major concern was one of safety for pupils.
“Well, I am happy to see that the school reopened, it is about time because the children need the education. So, I am happy to see the children [have] gone back to school. [The safety of students] is a concern for me because they have young children here and you still have to look at the well-being of the children and stuff like that. I hope in the future it will get better,” Smith said.
A small gathering of parents standing outside painted another picture; they noted that the lack of tiling of the classrooms, painting of the classrooms, a pile of garbage as well as furniture on the corridors as only some of the issues that students now face as the school was nowhere near completion.
A parent who declined to be identified said that she believed the amalgamation of classes would also pose another problem with classes becoming overly congested.
“I believe that two classes should not be in one class that should not be happening because it will be too congested but otherwise than that it is OK to me,” she said.
Contractor Michael Harris had told Barbados TODAY last week that the school would have been completed for the September 10 start.
“Rest assured this school is going to be ready for Monday. I only had the contract to do one block and all the windows that I was contracted to install are on the job and everything will be ready for Sunday and school will be opened,” said Harris, who revealed that he has undertaken the additional task of painting eight classrooms.
“The (Parent-Teachers’ Association) was supposed to organize to have the classrooms painted but that did not materialize. They were also supposed to raise funds to paint so that the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) could paint the outside of the school free of cost but that also did not materialize.
“So the windows would be in, some of the classrooms would be painted and the building will be power washed. The outside will not be painted but that is not the fault of the contractor and that should not affect the opening of school,” Harris then said.