Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Assessment of SPHS main building deems it safe; repairs on certain sections needed


At a meeting held on Thursday, August 31st, at the Angel Nunez Auditorium, the San Pedro High School (SPHS) management provided parents with an update on the structural damages affecting their main building. As per the report provided by Principal Emil Vasquez and the structural engineers, most of the building is in good condition except for three sections needing immediate repairs. These include the staff room, where the ceiling collapsed, and the computer and science lab. As further evaluations are made and plans to raise funds to complete all repairs begin, students will attend the Hon. Manuel Heredia Hall for most classes via a shifting system.

During the meeting, which started at 6:30PM, Principal Vasquez explained that they would only be utilizing two classrooms of the main building deemed safe. These areas are also the newest classrooms in the building. He said that although most of the building, about 75%, is considered safe, they will not allow students to be near the structure until all repairs are completed and engineers evaluate the building for a final time. According to Vasquez, the student body for the new school year is 670, and the shifting system will accommodate ten classes in the morning and another 10 in the afternoon. He said that if online courses are needed, as was done during the COVID-19 pandemic, they will work with that system as well. Vasquez added that if students do not have a tablet or laptop to participate in online learning, the school will assist those needing those devices. Vasquez said that repairs in their computer lab will start soon as the school counts with some funds. They hope to raise additional funds required to complete the other pending maintenance.
The session was attended by some of the engineers who have evaluated the school’s main building. One of them was Roque Matus, who said the incident in the staffroom was due to a defect in its construction. The roof was affected by the natural elements (salty air) and started slowly collapsing over the years on an area of the roof called the false ceiling, which eventually fell due to the weight. Matus said the roof is still there, and the false ceiling collapsed, which is the same case with the other three sections of the building that will need these repairs. Matus and his team are working on an estimate of the repair costs and will supervise the renovations. Matus said that one way to avoid these incidents is by properly constructing, which his team will work hand in hand with the constructor who takes the task of the reinforcement and refurbishment of the affected areas.
Principal Vasquez noted that the shifting system would last as long as needed. The sooner they get the funding, the quicker the school will return to its regular schedule. Many of the parents attending the meeting voiced their interest in helping to raise funds needed to complete the necessary repairs. They suggested starting immediately and organizing potential activities like food sales. Vasquez added that some stakeholders and even the Ministry of Education have approached the school offering support.

Images of the collapsed staffroom ceiling were shared on August 10th, alarming the island community. The SPHS management noted that the incident was of concern. While the recent assessment indicates that most of the main building is safe, they will not fully use the structure until all the needed renovations are completed.

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