TN Tatem Repairs To Take 10 Months, Cost $3M

May 30, 2019 | 34 Comments

[Update] Minister of Education Diallo Rabain is holding a press conference this morning [May 30] to provide further information on the situation regarding TN Tatem Middle School.

There have been ongoing problems due to the condition of the building, and last month students were relocated to other schools, and yesterday the Ministry of Education confirmed that TN Tatem Middle School ”will not open for the 2019/20 school year.” We will have additional coverage later on and in the meantime the live video is below.

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 12-minute replay is below

Update 12.15pm: Minister Rabain said the “necessary repairs will take at least ten months and cost approximately $3 million,” and this is why the decision was made not to reopen TN Tatem Middle School for the 2019/2020 school year.

“We are in the process of reallocating the students that would have been admitted to TN Tatem as M1 students for the next academic year, as well as talking to current parents of TN Tatem students about their current school placings,” the Minister said, adding that “parents will be provided with vouchers as necessary to mitigate the pressure of having to buy new uniforms for the new school the students are attending.”

Minister Rabain added, “In regards to the future of TN Tatem, this decision to close is at the moment applicable to the upcoming school year only. As we move forward with our plans to reform education and phase out Middle Schools, the outcome of those discussions will frame the decisions to be made on the future of TN Tatem. At this point, I cannot say what will happen at the school beyond the upcoming 2019/2020 school year.”

Minister Rabain’s full remarks:

Good morning,

I would like to take this opportunity to provide a status update on the progress made around addressing issues at TN Tatem Middle School. It is important to me that I honour my commitment to inform all stakeholders about this matter before the end of School Term 3.

Let me briefly take a moment to recap the work that has already been done at TN Tatem:

  • In December 2016, TN Tatem was closed due to mould issues. A report submitted in December 2017 listed a recommendation that stated the following: “While results of air quality testing through the majority of the TN Tatem Middle School campus showed no cause for significant concern, a visual assessment of the building indicated several factors, particularly relating to water intrusion, which will result in worsening of conditions if left unaddressed.”
  • On February 3rd, 2017, a few weeks before the school was reopened, when asked via a Parliamentary question about T.N. Tatem in the House of Assembly, “Would the Honorable Minister, please inform this Honourable House of the cost of the repairs and remediation?” The then Minister of Education, Wayne Scott replied “A total of $93,000 has been disbursed for repairs and mould remediation. This comprises Air quality testing at $18,000; heavy duty cleaning at $38,000, and mould abatement at $37,000”. We now know that these repairs did not address the water intrusion as recommended by the Air Quality Report received in December of 2016, which I reinforce that the report stated would only lead to a “worsening of conditions if left unaddressed.”
  • In October of 2018, scheduled health and safety inspections were conducted at TN Tatem Middle School. The report showed that the school was safe for occupation except for one room which was closed to have necessary remediation works carried out.
  • In February and March of 2019, additional reports were done as mould, and air quality issues once again began to show. The report stated, “The issues that we noted today are the same issues which we noted back in 2013 and are the same issues that closed the school in 2017…”. The Department Facilities Teams immediately began to look at how to address the source of the issues.
  • On April 8 of this year, the Ministry and Department of Education received a letter from the TN Tatem PTSA voicing concerns regarding the health and safety of the school building. As a result of these new concerns, students and teachers from TN Tatem were temporarily relocated to Purvis Primary School, Paget Primary, Heron Bay, and the Hamilton Fire Station while the school were inspected by the Health and Safety Officer, Mr Titus Gordan as requested by the PTSA and school staff.
  • By the end of April, after the temporary relocations, all current TN Tatem students have been transferred to Sandy’s Secondary, Dellwood and Whitney Institute Middle Schools, with the TN Tatem staff redeployed to the same middle schools. While the decision to close TN Tatem for the rest of the school year while the reports that date back as far as 2013 were reviewed to decide on whether all necessary and complete repairs could be made to enable the school to reopen in September 2019.

I can report today that the Department of Education Facilities Team, in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Works, has utilised the reports received in 2013, 2017 and 2019 to complete an assessment of the school building to determine the extent of the repairs and maintenance required as well as the potential costs. I have been advised the necessary repairs will take at least ten months and cost approximately $3 million.

The length of time and projected cost to effect the necessary repairs have informed my decision not to reopen TN Tatem Middle School for the 2019/2020 school year.

This decision is critical and was not made lightly, as safe and healthy learning, and teaching environment is paramount for our students and staff at TN Tatem Middle School. We are invested in ensuring that this remains at the forefront of all decisions made in regards to our schools.

To date, I have met with:

  • The TN Tatem PTSA Executive,
  • the TN Tatem School Principal as well as
  • the TN Tatem Health & Safety Chairperson.
  • I have also met with the TN Tatem Staff and
  • parents of current TN Tatem students to inform them of my decision.

It was critical to meet with school staff and the parents of TN Tatem students to listen and obtain feedback as we discuss next steps, before holding this press conference. My goal is to maintain a transparent and collaborative approach with all stakeholders, in the best interest of our children and staff.

The Ministry and the reports that date back to 2013 have confirmed the issues with the school and also sadly confirmed the failure of the previous administration to address these concerns when given the opportunity during the school closure in 2016.

These are the very same issues that have brought us to the place we are today. The place in which our teachers and parents were made to feel as if their opinions didn’t matter, and that should have never happened. I wish to commend the teachers and parents for standing up for their students and themselves.

Moving forward, we are in the process of reallocating the students that would have been admitted to TN Tatem as M1 students for the next academic year, as well as talking to current parents of TN Tatem students about their current school placings. The Ministry of Education will also do all we can to assist our parents and students to ensure their learning experience during the next school year is as productive as possible. Additionally, parents will be provided with vouchers as necessary to mitigate the pressure of having to buy new uniforms for the new school the students are attending.

In regards to the future of TN Tatem, this decision to close is at the moment applicable to the upcoming school year only. As we move forward with our plans to reform education and phase out Middle Schools, the outcome of those discussions will frame the decisions to be made on the future of TN Tatem. At this point, I cannot say what will happen at the school beyond the upcoming 2019/2020 school year.

I genuinely believe that we must continue to work together and maintain an open dialogue to ensure that the safety, health, and high-quality education is at the forefront of every decision we make on behalf of our students.

Thank you.

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Comments (34)

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  1. 2 Bermudas says:

    Just think if they hadn’t gave away $1.2m to friends and family and didn’t gay marriage it would cover the cost of this. Things that make you go hmmmmmm!!!

    • Lol says:

      And just think if the OBA actually fixed these issues that started with them instead of slashing 30 mill out the education budget to help fund their sailboat race, this would’ve been taken care of already…

      • Question says:

        Paula Cox was the one that started slashing the Education budget. But you can’t remember that can you,

    • Honestly says:

      NO! One of these things are NOT like the other! How did you manage to get the two in the same sentences?

    • Stick to the Story says:

      Just think, if the OBA had fixed the problems when they were first brought to them in 2013 or in 2016 we wouldn’t be in this mess at all.

    • Less then giving $77 Million to friends and family!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Clueless leadership says:

        Grand Atlantic $46 MILLION Grand Atlantic remodeling $23 MILLION. TOTAL spend on the Grand Atlantic fiasco $69 MILLION…….and the return on investment?

    • The sailboat scheme was masterfully planned.

    • Solid says:

      Just think if OBA had not spent that $80M all of our schools and buses would be operational!!

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    Umm, Minister, the reports on the condition of TN Tatem Middle School go back to at least 2012, as you acknowledged in your speech to the affected parents.

    Why are you now limiting your narrative to the 2 1/2 years from December 2016? Were the defects noted in the 2012 report corrected by December 2016?

  3. Well at least America’s Cup got financed properly.

    • 2 Bermudas says:

      Detz how de money is available to spend now, ding dong!! It’s called an investment. And no, not the Beyonce type of investment!! Hahahaha!! Keep drinking de titty milk!!

    • Double S says:

      Remember in Sept 2018 when Burch and Rabain proudly boasted that all of the school building issues were now in the past? Did they mislead us again? Rhetorical question really.

    • Swing voter # 990 says:

      Imagine how many ACs we could have if we found that “missing” $800M! I think I know where it went but not allowed to speculate.

    • David says:

      Our public schools get financed properly too.

      Divvy up the MoE’s budget and divide by the number of students in the public school system, and you’ll get a figure that’s more than the annual tuition at *the most expensive private high school* on the island.

    • CHRIS says:

      yes and made a PROFIT. if only we could vote for a party that can handle our taxes in a profitable way……

    • Yes Eye says:

      Yes Onion Juice, AC35 was financed properly! But lets also acknowledge that it was managed properly, advertised properly and had a huge return on the investment. Hotels were full and for two years Bermuda and was on every, major travel magaize, newspaper and major network around the world because they wanted to be here, not because we paid them! AC35 had a huge effect on our economy, employment and tourism. $75+ million if I remember correctly and we still reap the benefit. Our infrastructure was even improved because of it. Your cell coverage and internet speedds

      The PLP have done what exactly to stimulate the economy or put more oney in your pockets? Name it Onion Juice?

      Name one new Tourism initiative, one construction project, or any new investment that was introduced by the PLP in the last 2+ years? Just one. The OBA even got a bill passed and put everything in place for Casinos and somehow this government managed to screw that up!

  4. Justin says:

    The writing is on the (mouldy) wall to close this school. A $3M repair is almost 3% of the $114M education budget, which wasn’t accounted for in planning for this school year unless they take from some other area of need. All the TN Tatem students are being handled by the other middle schools so there is no rush to do this any time soon. And with a declining birthrate, why spend money here when it can be spent elsewhere? We will likely get an announcement next year (AKA similar to what happened with twice a week garbage collection to once a week), that Tatem will remain permanently closed.

    • CHRIS says:

      exactly. knock it down and wait for the OBA to bring back foreign investment in to Bda so something else can be built on the site.

    • CURIOU$ says:

      Agreed, close the school, demolish the builds and sell the property. One less thing for Government to deal with…
      Hang on, how many Government MPs went to Warwick Sec.?

  5. Trending says:

    Why give out vouchers for uniforms and waste more money ? Why not just allow students to temporarily use their TNT Tatem uniforms?

    • PBanks says:

      Agree fully. Money’s tight, the world’s not going to end if students were allowed to wear their existing uniforms for a school term.

  6. Starting Point says:

    “At this point, I cannot say what will happen at the school beyond the upcoming 2019/2020 school year.”

    Translation: This school is never opening again, kids are accommodated elsewhere, no one wants to be in the public system if they can avoid it so the school is not needed. But, we don’t want to tell the people that because we lack a spine so we would rather blow 3 million and pretend we care.

  7. :l says:

    Now all we need is for this to go take twice as long, with high cost over runs and we have gone full circle.

  8. Let's Go Bermuda says:

    Why not close for good and save the $3M? Bermuda has too many schools bleeding us dry!

  9. Wel…Well…Well…
    O.B.A. Thank you for the heap of “trash” you have deliberately dumped on the P.L.P.Government. Your callousness, your ridiculous approach to Bermudians, your non-democratic approach to Bermudians’ issues , have led to T.N.T. nonsense.
    When YOU, O.B.A., were the U.B.P., it was YOU who built that structure. YOU are to blame for its horrid state.
    O.B.A. failed miserably in supporting the Bermudian public for quite a while.
    Thank God above that HE whisked you out of power. Once again, thanks for your messy approach to OUR public school system!!!!!!
    Job tragically done. Thanks!!!

    • somuchless says:

      You are delusional.

    • Mb says:

      The PLP have had many many years as the government to fix education regardless of UBPOBA did
      So own the mess

    • Question says:

      25-11 for two solid years. You own. Anything that’s wrong MUST be your fault.

  10. lizard says:

    You couldn’t sell the school for $ 3m

  11. Hmmm says:

    On August 22nd 2018… Bernews published an announcement from Government.

    All of the island’s public schools will be safe for staff and students before the start of the school year, according to Government.

    Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, Minister of Public Works, said there is work still to be done, but he was confident it will be finished before September 10.

    Colonel Burch said: “It has been all hands on deck. In practical terms what this means is all seven work units and 102 tradesmen of the Building Section are working in schools.”

    He added that $3 million had been budgeted for work, and the amount spent will be “very close to that”.

    I guess they really didn’t do the work that was needed!!!!

  12. Trump supporter says:

    This problem didn’t start under the OBA, agreed they coulda done more, but if I remember Burch and rabain bragging and running there mouths that EVERYTHING was fixed. Now its the OBA fault.. typical bunch of cry babies.. only game they have is the blame game.

  13. dunn juice says:

    Taking bets now, how much over the 3 mill will the cost go, i say at least 6mill, Being generous.

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