Renovated, courtesy IT Corridor road project
CHENNAI: Some 250 students of the Panchayat Union Middle School at Navalur on the Information Technology corridor (on Old Mahabalipuram Road) now have another reason to attend school.
The old and dilapidated buildings that housed their classrooms, a Balwadi, and toilets have got a makeover, thanks to the IT Corridor road project being implemented by IT Expressway Ltd. (ITEL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Tamil Nadu Road Development Company (TNRDC), to develop the Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) stretch between Madhya Kailash and Siruseri.
The school at Navalur was affected by the project's land acquisition process.
The condition of the building was poor and lacked good furniture.
There were no partitions between classrooms, which had but inadequate lighting and ventilation.
The condition of the toilets was dismal, and there were no separate facilities for girls. The playground too was in a poor condition, and the play equipment available was broken.
The kitchen used to prepare the mid-day noon meal for the students was also in poor shape.
Garbage from the surrounding areas was dumped on the school premises, and sewage from the neighbourhood entered the school playground.
The initial brief was only to construct a compound wall in lieu of the fence to cover the school premises' frontage after the required land was taken from the school premises for the road.
Moved by the condition of the school and the plight of its students, the company decided to refurbish the building and its surroundings into a model school, so that learning would be a joyous experience for the school's students. It was also decided that the money for this would come from the project cost.
Having decided on this course of action, the company officials conducted a detailed infrastructure gap survey of the school premises and formulated a detailed plan to improve the school.
The plan involved remodelling and furnishing the classrooms, the balwadi, kitchen, toilets, playground, play equipment etc. besides constructing a compound wall around the school.
Explaining the comprehensive community development initiative, Ms Sabina Narayan, Art and Community Development Co-ordinator of TNRDC, said the refurbishment cost of Rs.20 lakh was equivalent to 0.1 per cent of the project cost of Rs.205 crore.
Model school now
The renovation work is nearly over, and the school now resembles a model school.
A new compound wall has now been constructed around the school, where originally there was only a broken fence. The classrooms now sport new furniture.
The Balwadi, and classrooms for standards I and II have been spruced up with vibrant paintings of animals, birds and fishes, and has a cheerful ambience now.
The toilet block now rivals even those of high-end private schools, with water points, washbasins and urinals, and demarcated areas for boys and girls.
Paver block flooring has been done on one part of the open ground in the school, where children assemble for special occasions. In the play area, new sets of swings, seesaws etc. have been installed, and the playground has been levelled.
Extensive landscaping has also been undertaken on the premises.
TNRDC plans to spruce up St. Thomas Mount Panchayat Elementary School in Okkiyam Thoraipakkam on the same lines. And work on this project has already begun.