Renovations to start soon after fire at school

Donations handed over to Dr Blok Secondary School. Photo: Twitter

The Free State MEC for Education, Tate Makgoe, has confirmed that the rebuilding of the destroyed hostel of Dr Blok Secondary School in Heidedal will start soon and will take up to six months to complete.

Makgoe revealed this during the official hand-over yesterday of basic parcels to pupils of the school who were hard hit by the incident.

At least 100 pupils escaped the horror of the fire that ravaged the living quarters of the house master and part of the boys’ hostel on 11 January.

MEC Tate Makgoe at the Dr Blok Secondary School in Heidedal yesterday. PHOTO: LUCKY NKUYANE

Makgoe told learners and interested parties in a packed school hall that the partially damaged girls’ hostel needs to be revamped as well and this may also take time. Different stakeholders, including private institutions and governmental departments came together to assist after the loss learners suffered as a result of the damage caused by the fire.

The school principal, Daniel McPherson, announced during the hand-over of donations from, among others, OFM listeners and other companies, that a section of the hostel that was partially damaged by the fire will also be demolished. He also thanked role players that included OFM, Bloemfontein Courant and Grey College among others for their involvement.

Makgoe told Bloemfontein Courant that the much talked about structure of the school thought to be built in asbestos would also be looked at and may be replaced. “A national assessment programme was done on all schools by the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) with the aim of removing all asbestos structures from schools. Dr Blok was not part of the list as it is not built in asbestos,” Makgoe added.

“You must be happy that we came back to check the progress and we are dealing with the problem. One thing that must be understood, is once you are dealing with this different material from asbestos you must deal with the foundation because it was designed to take bricks, “Makgoe added. Makgoe also said that the whole of the hostels, particularly the toilets, will be revamped in hopes of restoring and upholding the dignity of the pupils. – Lucky Nkuyane