Taiwan sends experts to assist

Over 400 students of the August Pine Ridge will benefit from the newly rehabilitated school building; Students try out the buildings' new facilities

More than 400 students of the August Pine Ridge RC School, located in the Orange Walk District, are now benefiting from a newly rehabilitated school building and a sanitary block inaugurated on Friday, February 10.

The Social Investment Fund implemented the project at a total cost of $298,000, which the Caribbean Development Bank financed under its Basic Needs Trust Fund 5.

The BNTF is a program promoting poverty reduction through socio-economic initiatives and community empowerment and is jointly financed by the Caribbean Development Bank, the Canadian International Development Agency and nine beneficiary governments, including Belize.

The school’s asbestos roof was replaced with a new pre-painted roof, and a new ceiling, doors and windows were installed.

The existing walls were dismantled and disposed of, and will be replaced by new plycem walls to both sides of the partitions with metal backing. Damaged columns were repaired and the building’s electrical system was rewired. The new building measures 105 ft x 37 ft wide and houses six classrooms, a computer lab and the principal’s office.

A new bathroom block was built with bathroom spaces for the school’s staff, and bathrooms for both sexes, shower stalls and hand basins.

Both bathrooms have doors leading into the adjacent building in the event that the building is used as a hurricane shelter. The August Pine Ridge community contributed towards the vertical props for the roof slabs, the excavation of the septic tank and soak-away.

An air-conditioning unit, electrical fans and 10 fully equipped computers, one photo copier, a projector with screen, two digital cameras and school furniture were also supplied as part of the project. $17,000 worth of construction material such as tiles and zinc sheets was provided to the school’s administration for the rehabilitation of another building inside the school compound.

The school provided the labor for rehabilitation of three additional classrooms, including the tiling of the floor, and replacement of the ceiling, underscoring its commitment to the cause of children’s education.

The A.P.R. School was built in the 1960’s and is one of the largest rural schools in the Orange Walk District. The building’s original roof was asbestos, which posed a health hazard to both the teachers and students. The rehabilitation has provided a safer and more pleasant learning environment.

August Pine Ridge Village is located some 16 miles from Orange Walk Town. The economic base of the village is mixed but cane- farming is the most important source of income for the villagers.

Speakers at the inauguration ceremony included officials of the Roman Catholic Church, the Social Investment Fund and Community Leaders.

The Reporter