What’s in store for Cas­tries Com­pre­hen­sive?

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Lately there have been sev­eral ru­mours bruited about con­cern­ing the fu­ture of the Cas­tries Com­pre­hen­sive Sec­ondary School. Lo­cated in Vide Bouteille, along­side of the Cas­tries-Gros Islet high­way, the school doors opened in 1974. Re­cently talk has been cir­cu­lat­ing that the school would be re­lo­cated in the in­ter­ests of pri­vate in­vestors. As Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet made his way to Tues­day’s House meet­ing, re­porters brought up the sub­ject. This is how he re­sponded: “With the Cas­tries Com­pre­hen­sive Sec­ondary School, the eval­u­a­tion is that we would have to spend in ex­cess of $13 mil­lion to re­pair it. It is in very bad shape. The mil­lion-dol­lar ques­tion be­comes, if you are lit­er­ally go­ing to be build­ing a new school, and know­ing what we know to­day, would you build it in that lo­ca­tion? So that’s the eval­u­a­tion that gov­ern­ment is un­der­tak­ing.”

In ad­di­tion to the is­sue of re­pair costs, there was also the mat­ter of lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion, lo­ca­tion. Said the prime min­is­ter: “The fact is, the school is on beach prop­erty and the site also has prob­lems with traf­fic and safety con­cerns for the stu­dents. There is the op­tion of pos­si­bly mov­ing the Cas­tries Com­pre­hen­sive School, but noth­ing has been de­cided. I cer­tainly think it would be ir­re­spon­si­ble of my gov­ern­ment if we didn’t give it due con­sid­er­a­tion.”

He played down sug­ges­tions that fam­ily ties to the school’s present lo­ca­tion would have any im­pact. “Whether my fa­ther or my fa­ther-in-law owns the lands has never been a fac­tor,” the PM in­sisted. “They’ve owned the land for a very, very long time.” He said an anal­y­sis would pre­cede any de­ci­sion.

“The min­istry of ed­u­ca­tion will be un­der­tak­ing this eval­u­a­tion and I look for­ward to their pre­sen­ta­tion to Cab­i­net.”

For her part, the ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter Gale Rigob­ert con­sid­ers the eval­u­a­tion nec­es­sary for sev­eral rea­sons. She told the “To be con­sid­ered is the age of the school, the level of de­te­ri­o­ra­tion and our own strate­gic di­rec­tion re­gard­ing the estab­lish­ment of smart schools.” A smart school, she ex­plained, is one that is tech­nol­ogy smart, en­ergy smart, cli­mate smart and caters for per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties.”

She says that the Cas­tries Com­pre­hen­sive Sec­ondary School is a good can­di­date to be­come a smart school but there have also been pre­lim­i­nary dis­cus­sions on the Mi­coud and Soufriere Sec­ondary Schools. “What­ever di­rec­tion we take, it can only be borne out of con­sul­ta­tion and en­gage­ment.”

Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet says ru­mours con­cern­ing the im­me­di­ate fu­ture of the Cas­tries Com­pre­hen­sive Sec­ondary School are both pre­ma­ture and with­out foun­da­tion.

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