Kozhikode

Will Kozhikode get its protected monument?

Where history lives: St. Joseph’s Anglo-Indian Girls’ Higher Secondary School, the first educational institution for girls in Malabar, was set up in Kozhikode in 1862.

Where history lives: St. Joseph’s Anglo-Indian Girls’ Higher Secondary School, the first educational institution for girls in Malabar, was set up in Kozhikode in 1862.   | Photo Credit: K_RAGESH

School management reportedly planning to pull down 156-year-old building citing safety concerns

If everything goes well, Kozhikode will soon get a protected monument, the only one of its kind in the town. The Department of Culture recently intimated the management of St. Joseph’s Anglo-Indian Girls’ Higher Secondary School its intention to declare the 156-year-old colonial-era building as one.

There is a catch, though. The school management is reportedly planning to pull down the structure citing safety concerns.

As per the ‘extraordinary Gazette notification’, the building should be declared as a protected monument under the provisions of the Kerala Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1968. The order issued on July 27 says the government could consider any objection within two months of its publication.

The school, the first educational institution for girls in Malabar, set up in 1862, was open to all castes and creeds.

The management now claims that the existing structure does not have facilities to house the increasing number of students. Parts of the building are leaking and the wooden staircase and floors shake when students walk. A group of parents too is supporting the management. They also got approval from the Regional Town Planner to raze the structure.

Feasibility study

However, a group of old students have been opposing the move, claiming that there was no need to demolish the structure, and that it could be restored and renovated instead. After they held an online campaign in support of their demand, the management held parleys and a study was conducted on the feasibility of renovation. The study coordinated by Lakshmi Manohar, architect and visiting faculty, National Institute of Technology, Calicut, pointed out that the condition of the building was not dangerous, necessitating a demolition. The number of classrooms could be reduced, some of the facilities could be shifted to an adjacent vacant building, and the structure could be restored. However, they were not given any feedback, Ms. Manohar told The Hindu.

“The school was founded by Mother Veronica, also the founder of the Congregation of Apostolic Carmel. As the headmistress of the school, she lived in that building too, which adds to its historic value. If age-old institutions such as the Doon School in Dehradun could be protected, why can’t we conserve this building,” asked Ms. Manohar. The school authorities were not available for comment when contacted.

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 2:29:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/will-kozhikode-get-its-protected-monument/article24957595.ece

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