Over $3 Million On School Maintenance & Repair

May 20, 2016

“It is anticipated that over $3 million will be spent in this fiscal year by the Ministry of Public Works on Government schools maintenance and repair,” Minister of Education Wayne Scott said in the House of Assembly today [May 20].

Minister Scott said, “Recognizing the importance of education, the Government believes that it is imperative that our students experience school facilities that promote learning.

“Many of our schools are dated and require extensive maintenance and repairs. They were designed and built for another era, one that did not envision air conditioning, computers and smart boards. Most maintenance works cannot be completed when school is in session for health and safety reasons and, frankly because they would be highly disruptive to learning.

“The majority of the works are therefore planned for and completed when students and school staff are out on vacation. The longest period being the summer holidays which begin at the end of June and run through to the beginning of September when the new school year begins.

“For the financial year 2015/2016, the summer maintenance project began in April with crews inspecting and identifying maintenance and repair issues for each school. The scope of works for each school was then drawn up and agreed with the Facilities Manager from the Department of Education.

“The works were then planned to start as soon as the holidays began. Works which were deemed to not pose a risk to staff or students were started before schools closed for the summer. In addition, summer works had to take into account, and work, around summer programs that are run in some of the schools.

“The planned works were extensive and involved seven work units with over 120 staff, including HVAC crews, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, masons and painters. All staff of the Buildings section of the Ministry were fully engaged in these works right through the summer.

“The scope of works and the tight timeframe required additional resources to assist with these projects. As such, contracts were awarded to companies to paint the interior and exterior of:

  • Lyceum Preschool
  • Lagoon Park Preschool
  • Francis Patton Primary School
  • Northlands Primary School
  • Paget Primary School
  • Port Royal Primary School
  • Somerset Primary School
  • Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy, and
  • Clearwater Middle School.

“In addition Public Lands and Buildings’ own crews painted Southampton Preschool. Over $1,100,000 was spent on painting the interior and exterior of some 10 of the schools.

“Whilst one million five hundred thousand dollars of capital funds were budgeted for school works for fiscal year 2015/2016 a revised estimate increased this to three million five hundred thousand dollars as the works got underway and the scope of works increased. As the works were essential to ensure that the schools were open for the new school year, savings were made in other capital accounts.

“In addition to the extensive works during the holidays, there is a full time work crew of some 16 Public Lands and Buildings staff who work throughout the year carrying out maintenance and repairs on school buildings with additional works contracted out to a variety of local contractors. They also respond to issues that arise on a day to day basis, such as clogged toilets, dripping faucets etc.

“Schools identified to be cleaned and painted internally and externally this year include:

  • Devonshire Preschool
  • Warwick Preschool
  • St. David’s Primary School
  • Victor Scott Primary School
  • West End Primary School
  • Elliot Primary School, and
  • Purvis Primary School.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, Recognizing the importance of education, the Government believes that it is imperative that our students experience school facilities that promote learning.

Members of this House are aware of the School Reorganisation Advisory Committee’s Report of Findings and Recommendations [SCORE Report], which outlined a number of challenges with our school buildings. In support of transparency, earlier this year, I made that report public, and at that time also made a commitment to students, parents, educators and other stakeholders in the education community, that this Government takes concerns about safety and health seriously. I was both adamant and confident that we would make the investments needed in our school facilities.

I am happy to provide members of this House with an update on the efforts undertaken both by the Department of Public Lands and Buildings within the Ministry of Public Works, and the Ministry of Education’s Department of Education. These Departments must work in a co-ordinated fashion since both are required to support optimal school facilities. The Department of Public Lands and Buildings has responsibility for the maintenance and repair of some thirty [30] Government schools including maintained preschools, primary and middle schools; whilst the Department of Education is responsible for minor works for these same schools. Ensuring that schools are fit for purpose and provide a safe and healthy environment is an ongoing exercise throughout the year and is managed by teams from both Departments.

In respect of the buildings themselves, the Buildings team from Public Lands and Buildings works closely with the Department of Education Facilities Manager to develop a planned maintenance program for each school by identifying and prioritizing works based on health and safety defects, infrastructure needs and school operations. These works are determined after inspections take place in consultation with Preschool Administrators and Principals, and are carefully planned to minimize disruption to school programs.

Many of our schools are dated and require extensive maintenance and repairs. They were designed and built for another era, one that did not envision air conditioning, computers and smart boards. Most maintenance works cannot be completed when school is in session for health and safety reasons and, frankly because they would be highly disruptive to learning. The majority of the works are therefore planned for and completed when students and school staff are out on vacation. The longest period being the summer holidays which begin at the end of June and run through to the beginning of September when the new school year begins.

Mr. Speaker,

For the financial year 2015/2016, the summer maintenance project began in April with crews inspecting and identifying maintenance and repair issues for each school. The scope of works for each school was then drawn up and agreed with the Facilities Manager from the Department of Education. The works were then planned to start as soon as the holidays began. Works which were deemed to not pose a risk to staff or students were started before schools closed for the summer. In addition, summer works had to take into account, and work, around summer programs that are run in some of the schools.

The planned works were extensive and involved seven [7] work units with over one hundred and twenty [120] staff, including HVAC crews, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, masons and painters. All staff of the Buildings section of the Ministry were fully engaged in these works right through the summer.

The scope of works and the tight timeframe required additional resources to assist with these projects. As such, contracts were awarded to companies to paint the interior and exterior of:

  • Lyceum Preschool
  • Lagoon Park Preschool
  • Francis Patton Primary School
  • Northlands Primary School
  • Paget Primary School
  • Port Royal Primary School
  • Somerset Primary School
  • Dame Marjorie Bean Hope Academy, and
  • Clearwater Middle School.

In addition Public Lands and Buildings’ own crews painted Southampton Preschool. Over $1,100,000 was spent on painting the interior and exterior of some 10 of the schools.

Whilst one million five hundred thousand dollars [$1,500,000] of capital funds were budgeted for school works for fiscal year 2015/2016 a revised estimate increased this to three million five hundred thousand dollars [$3,500,000] as the works got underway and the scope of works increased. As the works were essential to ensure that the schools were open for the new school year, savings were made in other capital accounts. The goal was to ensure that critical works were completed before the start of the new school year and that no school would be unable to open for the new school year owing to maintenance issues. All schools had maintenance works done, some requiring more extensive works than others. That goal was met thanks to the Buildings team and the Facilities Management team who worked hard over the summer to ensure that schools were ready for the new year.

In addition to the extensive works during the holidays, there is a full time work crew of some 16 Public Lands and Buildings staff who work throughout the year carrying out maintenance and repairs on school buildings with additional works contracted out to a variety of local contractors. They also respond to issues that arise on a day to day basis, such as clogged toilets, dripping faucets etc.

The school works project for fiscal year 2016/2017 is well underway. Department’s from both the Ministries of Education and Public Works are continuing to co-ordinate their efforts in response to findings within the SCORE Report. I, along with the Acting Commissioner of Education, our Facilities Manager and each school Principal [or designate] walked through each primary school to identify the priority works. Over the Easter break, crews worked overtime to hit as many of the target works as possible whilst our students were on break. The remainder of the works will be completed during the school year where possible, and then in the summer holidays whilst the schools are vacant. Schools identified to be cleaned and painted internally and externally this year include:

  • Devonshire Preschool
  • Warwick Preschool
  • St. David’s Primary School
  • Victor Scott Primary School
  • West End Primary School
  • Elliot Primary School, and
  • Purvis Primary School.

Government schools continue to be a priority for the Government and both the Ministries of Education and Public Works. The Department of Public Lands and Buildings will continue to work closely with the Facilities management team at the Department of Education to not only continue with the planned maintenance program, but to identify and remediate any health and safety issues as they arise.

It is anticipated that over three million dollars [$3,000,000] will be spent in this fiscal year by the Ministry of Public Works on Government schools maintenance and repair.

Mr. Speaker,

When I first released the SCORE Report, I made it clear that I was interested in looking forward – to solutions and progress. The information I have provided here today, on behalf of myself and the Minister of Public Works is evidence of this progress. However, I also think it is important for parents, educators and other stakeholders of our education system to be engaged in the process of improving our school facilities.

That is why school principals of maintained primary and middle schools are informing their parents and staff of the works that will be completed for their schools. To take that further, I will ensure that the entire schedule of works on schools be publicly available on our website – moed.bm – and be updated regularly.

Whilst, this may seem like a simple thing, it is an opportunity for parents and educators to see what is being done and when, and in turn, they can – if need be – remind us of the commitments that we have made to our children, parents and school staff.

By working together, we are improving our school facilities to ensure that our children receive a quality education, in facilities that promote optimal learning.

Thank you.

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Comments (20)

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  1. The Original Truth™ says:

    It’s ironic that protests have to be resorted to in order to get on the right path instead of the path being taking to begin with without a protest. 12 million less will be spent than what has been spent on the America’s Cup for something that will benefit the island far more than the America’s Cup.

    • Double S says:

      The SCORE report was issued prior to the ‘protests’ of the teachers. So you are absolutely wrong in your assertion that they are driving this maintenance efforts.

      Even the PLP acknowledged that these issues were around for years prior but were never made public during their reign.

      So be thankful that the OBA are the ones that commissioned the SCORE report with the not-so-pleasant results publically disclosed.

      Then ask yourself during the great PLP spending spree in which we accumulated $300mn+ deficits why none of these monies was spent on ensuring school infrastructure was maintained.

      Let me know what your answers are if you can be bothered to answer them in a truthful manner.

      • Real Deal says:

        Is that so, as far as I saw the oba was about to make another ubp cedar bridge mistake. many fail to understand that the public school system is one of the vertebrae in the back bone of the Bermudian culture. you change it you will get problem if you don’t plan for them. we should not be following USA we should be following UK.

        and yes I went to cedar bridge

        • Double S says:

          Your fist sentence makes no sense. AM I reading it wrong?

          We have the Cambridge Curriculum in place which is from the UK.
          But that doesn’t seem to have helped much given the subpar examination scores coming out of the public school system. 33% of students received between an A* and a C.

          So it appears one of our ‘vertebrae’ has been broken for quite some time.

          And let me remind you that when Cedarbridge opened its facilities were first class at the time.

          Stop blaming buildings and politicians for the poor state of the education system.

          • Real Deal says:

            I don’t feel like breaking it down for you. but I will tell you that you look at this to shallow that’s why you fail to use the issue. I am not blaming the building I can look pass the shell. That school separated children from the community. you don’t get better results by bunching kids up with a few teachers like some factory.
            This works if you have quality control and are willing to loss a lot of the students

            You get better result when the ratio is correct were the teachers know each and every student and their needs.

            You will not understand this unless you went to public school.

    • Bermyman says:

      Yeah, not to mention the $10m spend per year on civil servant sick days, averaging at least 20 per person!

      • Zevon says:

        Just as long as they kerp their 70 sick days a year. Unearned privilege.

        • Like unearned privilege from 400 hundred years of free labor.
          Karma is a B!@# !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

            What is a B!T@# is, you want to prosper off of your forefathers blood sweat n tears…If they were alive today they would cut your a$$ for having such an entitlemented attitude and make you work for your supper…They were humiliated and beaten just to stay alive while you just sit with your hand out…blaring false ideologies…Most people that think like you…really aren’t anything more than parrots mimicking The masters of mind conditioning.

            • Real Deal says:

              Other then my freedom What was my forefathers able to pass down to me so I can make it in this rat race. I can not even marry and get anything passed down unless you marry out side of the race.

          • Hoyal Lill says:

            $400 years of unearned free labour explain your math please. First settlers arrived in Bermuda in 1612 ish? Slaves came after and slavery was outlawed in 1807 and all slaves freed in 1834? It was a sad part of Bermudas past, but the fact that you seem to be exaggerating our past to suit your personal agenda and hatred of others is even sadder.

      • Worker says:

        Ya and until the good workers are appreciated More and more will become un motivated and just toe the line in Govt

    • Loofouy says:

      Where were you when the PLP spent four mil so that Beyonce could sing here with the “promise” that tourists would come here to see her. I suppose you believed that was an awesome idea and worth every penny.

      Maybe we could have spent a bit more if the Berkely project didn’t go $55 mil over budget.
      We coulda done more if miilions in legal fees were not spent by the government over BIU / Proactive bond just to have it dropped and the public screwed out of money again.

      How much was spent on Faith based Tourism and payments made to Emerald Finance and Andre Curtis?

      What was our return on investment for the “charity” event sponsored by department of tourism at the Playboy mansion?

      Maybe if the TCD project which was budgeted to cost $5.4 mil by the PLP and I believe awarded to a PLP member didn’t cost $15 mil we could have spent more.

      What about Port Royal GC? How many tens of mils did that project go over budget? Who was awarded that again? A PLP member?

  2. Triangle Drifter says:

    One wonders how much of that is willful damage to school property?

  3. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    3 million plus…7 schools..hmmm.
    How many contractors..? Will the materials be purchased from our local vendors..? Just a few questions that pops to the front line of mine
    Or are we importing materials duty free to ease the taxpayers purse or..? Hell while we’re at it let’s import the labour too for a fraction of the cost…remember we need the schools ready for action in sept…complete.

  4. Smile says:

    It cost $1 million for a new round about on North Shore.
    Imagine what W&E can do to improve our schools with $3 million.

    • Hoyal Lill says:

      It hasn’t cost a million because it still isn’t finished and like many W&E projects the finish work seems to never happen. Having W&E handle any major construction is a bad idea. Do they have the skill, ability, man power, and equipment? Absolutely. Do they have the desire . Sadly most (NOT ALL) do not. Who pays for it – we do!

  5. Mumbojumbo says:

    Ahhh doit…
    But let us just rethink our possibilities…an discus our futures a bit more thoroughly please…

  6. We must do better says:

    What about Gilbert Institute?

  7. 16 Year Old says:

    ‘Double S’ you say that 33.3% of children get A* to C’s imagine getting 33.3% on a test you would have failed that test. Why isn’t the number of children getting those grades at 60% or 70%. Also there are exam boards that are actually better than Cambridge and are more modern than Cambridge eg. Pearson Edexcel and AQA. Have you heard of the digital divide if all public schools had easy access to technology they would become more informed about the world and can go into way more extent have a better idea of what they are learning. Technology could really motivate students to work and get good grades with the unlimited resources on-line. So instead of paying $80,000 per prisoner per year cut that in half and put it in Education. Prison isn’t supposed to be like a hotel it’s supposed to be like hell. The more people that come out of school with a good education they are less likely to committing a crime.
    Also instead of jumping to conclusion and thinking every government worker sits off at work and doesn’t do much and doesn’t deserve some sick days you need to think again. First of all it is a law in the Employment Act which states that you have 8 days of sick leave per year with pay and if you are sick for two or more days you need a doctors note. Instead of complaining suck it up because it’s not going to change.

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