Breaking

Kitgum RDC Suspends Renovation Works on Dilapidated Classrooms

The decision follows concerns raised by local leaders and technical officials both at the Municipal council and district who say that the building is in a dire state and further attempts to renovate it will put the lives of pupils at risk.
KitgumResident District Commissioner in yellow checked shirt shows the interior of one of the classrooms under renovation at Kitgum Boys Primary school.

Audio 5

The Kitgum Resident District Commissioner, William Komakech has suspended renovation works on a classroom block at Kitgum Boys Primary School, Kitgum Municipality.

The decision follows concerns raised by local leaders and technical officials both at the Municipal council and district who say that the building is in a dire state and further attempts to renovate it will put the lives of pupils at risk.

Renovation works on four classrooms at the school kicked off on October 27 this year, after Kitgum Municipal Council handed over the site to Wan Aye Company Ltd. The local contractor was to undertake the renovation works for six months valued at 88.1 Million Shillings.

But according to technical officials, the renovation process was undertaken without assessments on the status of the classroom block which was already condemned by the Municipal council.

Patrick Bongomin, the Kitgum District Engineer who visited the site on Thursday says the building had already developed cracks on the walls coupled with a weak foundation structure.

He says additional weight on the walls would see the building collapse shortly, putting the lives of pupils at great risk.

Bongomin says no amount of patch up work would restore the strength of the building and recommended that the works be suspended.

//cue in: “if we had...

Cue out:...these existing wall.”//

George Canwat, the site supervisor acknowledges that they had detected numerous defects on the building including visible cracks during site handover but notes that they were yet to make further assessments. 

Morris Santo Oyoo, Pager Division LCIII Chairperson alleges there was a hidden move in granting a contract for the renovation of the school without involving stakeholders like the local leaders and district officials. 

He accuses the municipal education department of making a move that could easily put the lives of pupils at risk since the structure is already rotten.

//cue in: “I'm not an...

Cue out:...are confessing here.”//

Kitgum Municipal Education Officer Harriet Aber however defended the move to conduct renovation citing limited funds. She says annually the municipal council receives about 91 Million Shillings capitation grants which are inadequate to do major construction works in schools.  

Kitgum Municipal Council Mayor Richard Ojara however faults the Municipal Council Town Clerk for giving a go-ahead on the renovation of a structure that had earlier been condemned.

//cue in “Mr Town Clerk...

Cue out...at this stage.”//

Ojara notes that since the building has been condemned, it’s prudent that a new structure, a block of four classrooms be constructed at the school within a space of two years since the starting fund is already available.

//cue in: “This contract will...

Cue out:...one hundred percent.”//

Komakech notes that his office was side-lined from the handover of the site yet he could have advised the Municipal officials before resources are wasted on a dilapidated structure for renovation.

He says works at the school have been suspended and advised the municipal officials to get back on a drawing board to construct a new classroom block of either two or four classrooms.

//cue in: “the construction is

Cue out:...the rightful way.”//

The Headteacher, Demar Loklonya however says the decision will greatly affect their learners who are expected to resume learning in January next year. He says the school is already grappling with space for more than 700 learners since most of the structures constructed in 1920 are dilapidated.