Regional

Fingers crossed for reopening of Glen Stuart Primary

Monday, November 06, 2017

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Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth — If all goes according to plan, the Glen Stuart Primary School in Maggotty which has been closed since September because of leaking sewage could reopen its doors in January, according to principal, Omar Mongal.

“Work is ongoing to correct the problem and we have a tentative date for reopening in January,” Mongal told the Jamaica Observer Central by telephone on Friday.

Since its closure in late September, the 753 students and 30 teachers of Glen Stuart Primary have had to do classes at several locations in and around Maggotty in northern St Elizabeth. The locations are Shiloah Apostolic Church in Newton, Retirement Primary School, Carisbrook Primary School, Apple Valley Park, Glen Stuart United Church and Glen Stuart Infant Department.

Mongal said targeted transportation arrangements have been made for students who come from as far away as Comfort Hall and Mile Gully in Manchester, communities in southern Trelawny and southern St James, and from all over northern and central St Elizabeth.

“It's difficult but we are thankful that teaching and learning is taking place and that the Government is working assiduously to fix the (sewage) problem so that we will go back to normal school life as quickly as possible,” Mongal said.

Glen Stuart Primary, which is adjacent to Maggotty High School was closed by health authorities in September after they determined that leaking sewage represented a health hazard.

As explained by Mongal in September, the school — among the leading primary institutions in St Elizabeth — has had issues with leaking sewage for many years, largely because of a very high water table. The school is just across the road from the Maggotty River, which feeds into the Black River. Heavy and persistent rains in recent months have apparently aggravated the situation.

Efforts over the years to correct sewage issues have not provided a permanent fix. It's hoped that with the school now closed the current project will succeed.

It's thought that over-burdened facilities have fuelled the problem throughout the years. Rebuilt in 1981 after the previous, 100-odd-year-old building was destroyed by fire, Glen Stuart Primary was intended to accommodate 450 students.

— Garfield Myers

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