Dust? What dust? - Clarendon school gets breath of fresh air
The dust nuisance at the Mineral Heights Primary School in Clarendon is now a thing of the past, following the paving of the school grounds at a cost of $5.1 million.
The initiative, carried out under the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP), addressed the problem, which had been affecting the health of teachers and students alike.
Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing Richard Azan said following the completion of the project, teachers and pupils have been operating under conditions more conducive to teaching and learning.
"The whole place was a dust bowl and when it rains, water settles and it becomes untidy for both children and the staff," he noted.
"We were able to do a proper job. We also built a platform and an area for those who are disabled to use in the school, and we repaired the main water tank, which was out of service for a long period of time, so the school is much better off today than before," he added.
Vice-principal of the school, Marsha Anderson, said the school grounds were very dusty before the work was done.
"Teachers used to complain about getting sick with the dust and not only the dust, the rocky area was very dangerous for the children as well," Anderson said.
"It has been much better. Parents are still talking about it and it's good for the children. The dust is down, so I think it's very much better than it was before," she added.
MOSQUITO BREEDING GROUND
Meanwhile, senior communications officer at the National Works Agency (NWA) Colin Morrison said that prior to the completion of the project, in addition to the dust, water would settle on the premises. This became a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
"So the state minister organised a team comprising representatives from the NWA, the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing, the Clarendon Parish Council, and the Road Maintenance Fund. A visit was made to the school and they decided that the situation was intolerable and that the grounds had to be paved," Morrison said.
The project was completed within four weeks, in time for the re-opening of school last September.
"The work included the filling of areas where there were soft spots. Base and sub-base material were laid and then the entire area was paved with asphaltic concrete," Morrison said.