More than 1000 learners at Thushanang Primary School in Mpumalanga will benefit from an upgrade of their school. The school was built with Federale Stene's Semiface Travetine (FBA) clay bricks.
For the past five years, General Electric (GE) has been working with local municipalities and supporting schools in Mpumalanga through its school infrastructure upgrade projects. The initiative at Thushanang Primary helps the school meet the standards of the School Infrastructure Regulations.
Project manager Aadil Peer recalled his first encounter with principal Thabang Tshehla and his staff: “What I saw when we first came here was dilapidated infrastructure with asbestos and electric wires exposed."
Principal Tshehla expressed his joy and described the project as “a dream come true” after teaching for seven years at the school in appalling conditions.
"We know that asbestos poses a health hazard, but now it is all gone,” he said.
"The use of low-impact non-toxic building materials can enhance indoor air quality, " explains Federale General Manager Johan Humphries.
"The new building makes use of natural clay brick which contains no pollutants or allergens and is resistant to mould, ants, borer and termites. Clay brick protect student health, and the impact of a healthier building material will be felt by not only by the learners and educators but the entire community.
"Federale Stene is honoured to be part of this project," he concludes "and our products are helping to enhance the learners’ school experience.”
Creating a better learning environment
Clay brick’s high thermal mass prevents a “hot-box” effect in high summer temperatures, boost concentration and student performance.. Rooms are cooler for longer - a critical property in the hot Lowveld summers. Together with to its ability to regulate air humidity, students and lecturers will enjoy a comfortable environment in both coldest and hottest months.
The dense brick walls are ideal for school construction as it also minimises noise from adjoining buildings and classrooms.
The project also supported job creation. Local contractor Pegasus Civil Construction was responsible for all construction upgrades and sub-contracted 19 local SMMEs. A total of 168 jobs - including 66 for youths - were created on the project site. 123 accredited skills development training sessions were provided.
The school project upgrades include the following:
- Demolishing and safe removal of existing asbestos classrooms and toilets
- Construction of 20 classrooms
- Construction of a new kitchen with feeding area
- Construction of two ablution blocks
- Stormwater control and rainwater harvesting
- Parking space and drop-off area
- Vegetable garden for educational and nutritional purposes
- Games and activities for enhanced recreational experience
- Supply of equipment and furniture
The school vegetable garden teaches applied botany and food production, and instills a sense of responsibility. Produce grown will be used in the school's tuck shop kitchen to feed children in need at the school.
The project is on-going - the pre-school will be built in the next phase.