Former pupil leads drive to rebuild Woodlands primary

2011-04-07 00:00

A FORMER pupil at Woodlands Primary School is leading a drive to rebuild the school, which is currently in a dilapidated state.

The Witness spoke to Louise Lecordier about her dream to rebuild her former school, which she left in 1988.

“I visited the school in 2009 because I wanted to build a library for it to ensure that pupils have an appropriate centre of information, but when I saw the school’s condition I thought maybe it would be better to renovate it,” she says.

However, as a civil engineer, she understood that it would be expensive to renovate the school, and it would also be expensive for the school to maintain it.

“I put up a proposal to build the school from scratch because my focus was for the pupils to study in a safer schooling environment,” says Lecordier.

She says being a partner at MCE Consulting Engineers, she is not new to such undertakings.

“As a citizen I can’t just wait for the government to do things. That is why I looked at how I can contribute towards the rebuilding of the school.”

She says they have projected that about R100 million would be required to rebuild the school over a period of five years.

“We had to be very careful about how we tackle the asbestos because of strict regulations concerning it, that is why we are working with asbestos specialists to ensure that there is no danger posed to the pupils during the rebuilding process,” she says.

Lecordier has been working with FNB Greater Wealth Division, which is providing services and expertise into the project.

“FNB are busy working with registering a non-profit trust that will be dissolved once the project is completed. The trust will be audited annually by independent auditors,” she says.

On April 14, Lecordier will be hosting businesspeople from the area to ask for their help in ensuring that the project is a success.

The school principal, Alphonso Jasson, said the school was officially opened in 1975 and at that time asbestos was not viewed as a health hazard or a dangerous material.

“So we welcome any help to rebuild the school for our pupils. This is a huge undertaking but we are happy with the team that will be running this challenging project,” said Jasson.

“We are calling for the school and business community to assist in making a success of this project,” he added.

KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education spokesperson Mbali Thusi said: “We always welcome such initiatives and we are going to link up Louise Lecordier with our infrastructure unit so that they can also assist where they can.”

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