Happy days

Glen Stuart Primary School reopens after six-month shutdown

Monday, March 12, 2018

Maggotty , St Elizabeth — Six and a half months after being closed because of a sewage leak, the Glen Stuart Primary School in Maggotty has reopened its doors.

The well over 700 students who had to be attending classes at other schools, as well as church halls and community centres are back at home base, and principal Omar Mongal is a relieved man.

“We are happy with this,” he told Jamaica Observer Central last Thursday.

“Finally I don't have to be all over the place. finally all my students are concentrated in one spot and all my staff members are again in one spot,” he said.

Glen Stuart Primary reopened on Monday, March 5, after getting the thumbs up from health authorities on Friday of the previous week.

The authorities shut down the school last September after the sewage leak, which had been a recurring problem down the years, reached crisis proportions.

Late last year, there was seeming uncertainty on how best to deal with the problem. But, according to Mongal, the Government finally resolved it by completely abandoning the old system and replacing it with a modern sewage treatment plant embracing chlorination chambers, reed bed and septic tank.

Mongal said health authorities and the National Environmental Planning Agency will be paying rigorous attention to ensure that the sewage plant - which is close to the Maggotty River — operates at optimum efficiency at all times. The Maggotty River is a major feeder for the Black River.

Crucially, according to Mongal, the capacity of the new plant is for 1500 people. A difficulty down the years was that the number of students at Glen Stuart Primary had far exceeded the 450 for which it was built. The school, which dates back more than 100 years, was rebuilt in 1981 after the old structure was destroyed by fire.

There was no immediate word on the cost of the treatment plant. In addition to the sewage project, the opportunity was also taken during the shutdown to conduct repairs and physical improvements to sections of the school, including the canteen and tuck shop. A new storeroom was set up to accommodate items bought in bulk and the security system was upgraded to include cameras.

Mongal said he did not expect any major fall-off in academic performances as a result of the dislocation since September. Checks so far had suggested only a “marginal” decline in students' scores, he said. His teaching staff would be moving proactively to correct any falling off, he added.

“We are working extremely hard to ensure that we recover lost ground and to ensure we continue to be the institution of choice within the parish of St Elizabeth,” the principal said.

“We have 123 students sitting the GSAT (Grade Six Achievment test) exams in the next two weeks, and we are looking for the best results ever in the history of the school and we have always done extremely well. Last year over 88 per cent of students who sat the exam went to high schools of their choice and we were the top school in St Elizabeth for GSAT. This year we hope to be numbered in the top ten within the island,” he added.

Mongal thanked the various institutions which had embraced students from Glen Stuart Primary during the school's closure. They included Newton Shiloh Apostolic Church, Glen Bromfield Centre in Barton District, Apple Valley Park in Maggotty, Carisbrook Primary School, Retirement Primary School, and Glen Stuart United Church.

He said the “partnership” with Glen Bromfield Centre would continue in order to facilitate the continuation and planned expansion of Glen Stuart Primary's special education programme for children with special needs.

— Garfield Myers




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