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|More than one year after the “A” List North Ruimveldt Multilateral Secondary School was destroyed by fire the Government, on Wednesday, signed a $567 million contract to commence rebuilding. The contract for building has been awarded to Kares Engineering Inc. and Marcel Gaskin awarded the consultancy for the project.
Construction, which is expected to last 14 months, will see a three-story building with modern external structure, measuring 432ft (length) x 30ft (width) x 42ft (height) and outfitted with Science laboratories, Information Technology Laboratories, new classrooms, teacher accommodation and a sanitary block. On completion the student capacity is expected to be between 450-500.
On June 19, 2021 a fire destroyed a section of the school, namely, classrooms, the Information Technology lab, Science Labs and the Home Economics Department. At the time there were 512 students enrolled and 39 teachers. 65 students were preparing to sit the 2021 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination.
The multilateral schools were built in the 1970s as part of the Forbes Burnham government Education Policy that included free education from nursery to university and educational opportunities for development at different levels, based on ability and interest at given times.
In the last two years three schools were razed by fire. North Ruimveldt Multilateral Secondary on June 21, 2021; North West Secondary on September 24, 2021 and St. George’s High on July 20, 2022. Hundreds of students and their families have been affected by these fires. According to the Guyana Fire Service, the North West fire was an act of arson; the St George’s fire was electrical in origin, and North Ruimveldt, the result of a faulty electrical point.
The fires, apart from fueling suspicion, point to the necessity of modernising electrical fittings, and improving fire safety and protection such as installation of automatic fire sprinklers.