Scottsdene opens its doors

Pupils at Scottsdene High School move the desks to the new classrooms.

Finishing touches are still being done to the structurally repaired Scottsdene High School building but pupils have already started classes there.

Principal Karel Cupido said all the necessary equipment for classes – including desks, whiteboards and books – had been moved into the classrooms last week and all the pupils had now been moved from the temporary classrooms to the new facilities.

Mr Cupido said a few building “snags” were still being ironed out and the phone lines need to be reinstalled but other than that, the school was up and running in its repaired home.

Excited pupil Nonkosi Othandwayo Mgudu posted a collage of selfies taken during the move.

“Yaaaas chom we in our new school now,” she said in the comments.

The original school building was closed in 2015 due to structural defects (“Scottsdene High to cost R66m, says report,” Northern News, October 28, 2015).

Byron La Hoe, the spokesman for the provincial Department of Transport and Public Works said: “This was remedial work on structural design defects. The school was declared structurally unsafe after cracks appeared in halls, walkways, classrooms and computer rooms.”

The pupils were housed in mobile classrooms on the sports field during the repairs but not before they had to endure some moving difficulties.

In August 2015, the Cape Argus reported that pupils had to take turns to go to class in the Scottsdene Community Hall, while teachers taught lessons over the PA system.

This was after Eerste River residents refused to allow the pupils to use a newly-built but still vacant school in that area.

At the time, Jessica Shelver, the spokeswoman for Education MEC Debbie Schäfer, said the department had planned to relocate the pupils to the vacant school “but some community members in Eerste River vehemently opposed this move and threatened violence against our learners”.

This led to grades 8 and 10 being housed in the community hall while grades 11 and 12 shared nine prefabricated classrooms at the school.

Mr La Hoe said structural defects were discovered in the school buildings in 2014.

It took two more years before the department was able to allocate funding to repair the school.

A consultant on the project Gavin Pike, of GAPP Architects and Designers, said repairs had started at the school in mi-2016.

“New engineers were appointed, and by this time, the Scottsdene work on site was put on hold as some of the buildings were deemed potentially unsafe and in mid-2016 the staff and learners were relocated into mobile classrooms,” said Mr Pike.

“The new Scottsdene school is now in the process of being re-inhabited. The delays were considerable and the additional costs beyond the budget were in the order of R10 million.”