Education

Dellwood closed, other schools ready

  • Dellwood Middle School was the focus of Public Works employees after it was announced that the building will not be ready for the upcoming school year (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Dellwood Middle School will remain closed but all other schools will be open when the new term begins on September 11.

Education minister Diallo Rabain and Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, Minister of Public Works, provided an update on Bermuda’s schools at a press conference yesterday.

They said major works have been carried out, including mould remediation and infrastructure work, but students at Dellwood would need to be housed temporarily at locations in the City of Hamilton until the work is completed in two weeks.

Mr Rabain said the work at Dellwood would cost around $450,000 and could not be completed inside the original six-week timetable.

Mr Rabain outlined some of the works undertaken at schools during the summer break, which include:

• The renovation of student restrooms at Lyceum and Warwick Preschools and TN Tatem Middle School.

• Tent fumigation of Victor Scott Primary School and infant-block roof replacement at Elliot Primary School.

• Construction of a natural playground at St David’s Preschool and the installation of perimeter fencing at Hope Academy.

• Hallway and classroom floor resurfacing projects at Somerset Primary, Southampton Preschool, Prospect Preschool, Harrington Sound Primary and St David’s Primary.

• Additional maintenance at various schools including pest control assessments, fire alarm inspection testing and installation, water fountain maintenance and cleaning and power washing at various school sites.

Mr Rabain said: “We are in the final stages of cleaning and repair work at the majority of public schools and I am pleased to report that they are on schedule to be fully operational and ready for handover to our teachers on September 1.”

Dellwood Middle School students relocated to Bermuda College in June owing to concerns among teachers over widespread mould.

Mr Rabain added: “It is unfortunate that the previous Government did not allocate the funding needed to address these issues when they were identified in June.

“As a result it was not until July 25, some six weeks after the school was closed, that at this new Government’s first Cabinet meeting, the funding was approved to get Dellwood Middle School safe for the upcoming school year.

“Despite the hard work and long hours by both the Ministry of Works staff and the three contractors on site, we have determined that Dellwood Middle School will not be ready in time for the September 11 opening.

“I want to assure the public that every effort is being made by my team to ensure that our students have minimal disruption to their learning.”

Mr Rabain said that, along with the Commissioner of Education, the Department of Education’s facilities manager, a representative from the Department of Health and the Minister of Public Works, he has met with the Dellwood team including the principal, PTSA executive, staff and Bermuda Union of Teachers and executive members to determine the most suitable alternative arrangements.

He continued: “While the preferred option will be to have students back at their school, Dellwood Middle School students will be housed initially in alternative locations in the City of Hamilton.”

TN Tatem Middle School relocated to Clearwater Middle School during the last school year because of mould problems, while Harrington Sound Primary School children were sent home for several days because of an infestation of bird mites.

But schools across the island have benefited from a community clean-up effort over the past few weeks.

Mr Rabain added that a “year-round maintenance plan” would be introduced.

Reports on structural, mechanical, electrical and health and safety building inspections of all schools will be prepared to ensure a “complete picture” of the condition of schools in the future.

Colonel Burch said he believed there was a problem of teachers “hoarding” items in schools, including paper.

He added: “Paper is a magnet for mould and we will take some steps and intervention with each school to see how we can address that during the course of the school year.”

• To read Mr Rabain’s statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”