£500,000 ‘facelift’ for St Paul’s First School
St Paul’s First School will be given a £500,000 “facelift” over the course of a year, with plans for a new lunchroom, library, nursery and garden.
The Minister for Education Dr John Cortes announced the refurbishments yesterday alongside Director of Education Jackie Mason, Head Teacher Rosanna Hitchcock and project manager for the Department of Education Damian Muscat.
Unlike other schools in Gibraltar which are set to be relocated, St Paul’s will stay put but will see a major refurbishment.
“We weren’t going to forget the schools that are staying where they are,” Dr Cortes said.
He added: “We want to give teachers and children best teaching and learning environment that we can. St Paul’s is a great school but it needs some work.”
One of the top priorities is to expand the nursery services at St Paul’s.
Currently the service caters to 42 children and it is expected after the refurbishment the new nursery will be able to cater for 80 children.
“One of the things we have to do is accommodate for more nursery children as we expand nursery provisions to all children in Gibraltar whose parents want them to have a government nursery placement,” Dr Cortes said.
Ms Mason added the refurbishment has been a great opportunity for outdoor learning to be integrated in the school programme with a “forest learning zone”.
It is hoped the outdoor learning will promote creativity within the youngsters and provide universal skills.
Outdoor learning would start at the age of four, continuing until the age of 14.
The plans also feature a new disability access at the entrance of the school.
“This is very exciting as it is going to provide us with the structure which will allow us to take our school to the next level,” Ms Hitchcock said.
The dining area will be demolished and the outdoor play area will be located there. At the opposite side of the playground the library and new dining area will located there.
“We are estimating the project will take approximately a year and some of the refurbishment works are already on going,” Mr Muscat said.
Dr Cortes added that no works will be on going while the children are in the schools.
“The works will be carried out on the weekends, afterhours, or during holiday time,” Dr Cortes said.
The refurbishment plans will see the nursery refurbished and self-contained, with a separate entrance and colourful playground.
An extra classroom will also be constructed to cater for all the new nursery pupils.
The zebra crossing at Varyl Begg Estate will be relocated to fit directly in front of the main entrance of the school. This will entail the relocation of some parking spaces outside of the school.
Pic by Johnny Bugeja