At last!

Modern sanitation for St Alban's Primary

Monday, August 27, 2018

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Malvern, St Elizabeth — It has taken many years of lobbying and pleading but finally the St Alban's Primary School and Infant School in Stanmore, St Elizabeth, is within 'touching' distance of modern, flush toilets for its students.

The actual construction of the sanitation block at a cost of $8 million is complete. But as explained by school principal, Chris Dubidad, there is need for “minor” alterations and final “inspection” and clearance by the authorities before the 81 students at St Albans are given access.

This, Dubidad expects to happen within “a couple of weeks” after next week's start of the new school term following the summer holidays.

And while there is no running water from the National Water Commission (NWC) at the school, Dubidad doesn't expect a major problem since there is significant rain water catchment and storage capacity.

“We have a large concrete tank,” he pointed out.

Dubidad who took over as principal in May of 2014 and immediately redoubled efforts by school board and leadership to have the modern sanitation block built, described the flush toilets as significant during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in late June.

“This (modern sanitation block) is wonderful … it will make our kids feel important like they are not left behind…,” Dubidad said.

He also expects it will boost enrolment at St Alban's which at one time was so low, the school came perilously close to being shut down by the Ministry of Education.

“Quite a lot of parents didn't want to send their children here because (they would have to use) pit latrines …,” Dubidad said.

Maureen Braun, now 68 years old, who attended St Alban's Primary in the 1950s and 60s, says she was not “traumatised” by having to use pit toilets back then.

“It was what I had at home as well … but it's different now. Our children deserve modern facilities,” she said.

Sandra Bradshaw told the Jamaica Observer Central told how her young daughter would “cry” every time she found herself having to use the pit toilets.

“She didn't like it at all because she not used to it (at home) so we are glad that we have this opportunity for the kids to step up inna life,” said Bradshaw.

School janitor Ann Marie Ellison Russell said her job will now be easier. “I feel good … I am very appreciative of this new facility,” she said.

Teacher Danielle Haye said most students were “terrified” of having to use pit toilets. “We are in a modern era we need to go with the flow. We are very thankful for this and now students will learn water conservation and to take care of the bathrooms as well ..,” Haye said.

— Garfield Myers

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