PROPOSAL FOR RESTORATION OF GROUNDS OF ST. JOSEPH’S HIGH SCHOOL
St. Joseph High School is one of Guyana’s leading secondary schools with a student population of about seven hundred. The institution has consistently performed in the preparation of students’ for participation in the development of Guyana and alumni now serve in almost every aspect of Guyanese life at home and abroad.
The school has over the years stood out in winning several sporting competitions and has produced sports men and women of national and international caliber in athletics, cricket, football, field hockey, basketball and volleyball, to name a few. Some of the most notable examples are former Guyanese and West Indian fast bowler Reon King; Nicholas Degroot, who has represented Guyana, the West Indies and Canada in cricket; and Julian Edmonds, one of the best sprinters Guyana has ever produced.
The schools sporting excellence and the essential Physical Education programme are challenged by the lack of adequate grounds. Though the school has an adequately sized recreation area, it has become overgrown with weeds and is soggy for the majority of the time. This situation exists mainly because of altered drainage and the type of plants which have become established since flooding in 2005. Most recreation and Physical Education activities for the Caribbean Examination Council’s examinations are now conducted on the school’s patio.
Restoration of the grounds has been identified by the Board of Governors, Old Students’ Association, Parent Teachers Association and the management and Staff of the school as a priority. This document sets out proposed plans to achieve this.
This restoration effort will focus on approximately 7,400m2 grounds to the east of the school building and include filling, levelling and compacting the land, and improvement of drainage. An essential component, improvement of access to the area through repairs of a bridge and gate, has been completed with funding from the US alumni association.
The grounds will be filled in with a mixture of sand and clay to raise it adequately above the surrounding areas. The area will then be levelled and compacted, allowing adequate slope for drainage and avoidance of the pooling of water. Perimeter drains will be constructed to allow for drainage of the ground to the external drain along lrving Street to the east. Figure 1
shows a satellite image of the school compound highlighting the area to be restored.
We propose that securing the funding for this project be a collaborative effort of the local and overseas alumni and the school. Locally, fundraising event will be organized as a part of the local alumni activities for 2012, and the school with try to secure support from the Government of Guyana and corporate citizens. The alumni associations in Canada and the United States have also indicated interest in supporting the project.
Maintenance and Upkeep
A major concern is the upkeep of the facilities once they are upgraded. The support of the ministries responsible for sport and education will be sought to ensure that the grounds are kept. The Board of Governors and the school have approached the Ministry of Education to increase the frequency of weeding and clearing of the grounds and are trying to secure the services of a handyman.
Efforts will also be made to improve the facilities available once this urgent and necessary restoration is completed. Some improvements being considered are the construction of sporting facilities for cricket, field hockey, volleyball, football and athletics, as well as the erection of seating facilities. Other areas of the schools compound will also benefit from restoration and improved upkeep.