ONE year since a fire destroyed 50% of Woodridge College in the Eastern Cape, the illustrious educational institution has now been restored to its former glory, with the construction of 12 new staff houses, two dormitories and two classroom blocks, along with a new admin building, resource centre and workshop. Renovations were also carried out on two staff houses and the squash courts. Specialists in large-scale construction, GVK-Siya Zama, were selected to return the property from cinder to school. GVK-Siya Zama’s senior contracts manager, Ronnie Fourie, believes that the company was chosen to work on this project because it is one of the market leaders in the Eastern Cape. “We have a reputation for delivering quality products safely, on time and within budget through thorough planning and teamwork with all parties involved,” Fourie said. Work on what was initially a R14 million project began a few weeks after the fire, with the scope comprising the construction of staff housing and a girls’ dorm. This was then extended to include the building of additional classrooms, staff housing and an admin block, together with minor renovations. More sections were awarded and the scope expanded, resulting in it becoming a R38 million project, with the majority of the work being carried out simultaneously. “We started handing over staff housing as early as December last year, to allow for employees to move into their homes prior to the new school year. “This was followed by the senior dorms and the headmaster’s house,” Fourie explained. He said handing over the balance of the works followed in sections, virtually a month after each other. “We recently completed the last three houses and the resource centre. Each building was handled as an individual site, which ensured proper progress and completion tracking. “Finishing each section on time was critical in helping the school avoid the costly rental fees of the buildings that were being leased while the rebuild was underway,” Fourie said. The renovations have been met with excitement from both teachers and schoolchildren alike, while the GVK-Siya Zama crew were sometimes forced to chase the children out of new areas on handover days as the excitement of seeing the new buildings and classrooms was just too much for them. The construction company was also ecstatic about the school’s transformation and even loaded all staff at the Eastern Cape office onto a bus to see the site before and after the work was completed. “With these renovations, a new chapter can be written in the long history of this great school. “Current and future employees and pupils now have brand-new facilities to use and build memories,” Fourie concluded.