Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley said on July 1 that the Althea Scatliffe Primary School will either need major renovations or demolition. (File photo: DANA KAMPA)

The Althea Scatliffe Primary School may need to be torn down after serious structural failings forced its closure on June 17, Premier Dr. Natalio “Sowande” Wheatley said during a press conference on July 1.

While fielding questions from the press, Dr. Wheatley said the school is “old, dilapidated, and needs a lot of work.”

Structural concerns, he added, had already arisen when he previously served as the minister overseeing education.

“We had Systems Engineering that did an assessment of the building, and they spoke about the issue of the spalling, which is how the steel in the roof had expanded and was pushing off the concrete,” he said.

He also noted issues with the materials used to make the concrete.

“Back in the day, persons used a lot of sand from the beaches and things like that, which is very porous,” he said. “At this particular stage, you have chunks of concrete falling from the roof.”

Ceiling cave-in

In November, a classroom ceiling caved in while the school was empty on the weekend.

If the school isn’t demolished, the premier said, faulty concrete would need to be chipped off the roof and other parts of the building.

He added that engineers also determined that the school doesn’t comply with building codes for earthquakes.

“What I think is clear to everyone is that the school … either needs to be renovated or demolished and rebuilt,” Dr. Wheatley said.

He added Cabinet had already engaged in discussions with the United Kingdom about the fiscal needs to address the concerns.

He also promised that Education, Culture, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Sharie de Castro will give an update soon about what will happen with students in September.