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In Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe, School Expands with High Qua...

In Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe, School Expands with High Quality Environmental Project

In addition to the twenty-four spots that it already has, Raoul-Georges-Nicolo High School will be able to house fifty additional high school students in its new buildings set to be ready by the beginning of the next school year. Raoul-Georges-Nicolo High School is known for being a school that prepares students for careers in construction and applied arts.

In addition to the twenty-four spots that it already has, Raoul-Georges-Nicolo High School will be able to house fifty additional high school students in its new buildings set to be ready by the beginning of the next school year.

Raoul-Georges-Nicolo High School is known for being a school that prepares students for careers in construction and applied arts. It has two unique post-high school tracks, known as the BTS building and the BTS EEC (Studies and the Economy of Construction). In attempt to accommodate some of its 641 students, the establishment has a twenty-four bed dorm. It also has the same number of spots proposed to them by Gerville-Réache High School (as seen below).

Gerville-Reache High School in Guadeloupe, Carribbean. Photo shows the school's courtyard that is lined with trees.  The building's outdoor hallways look out over the courtyard.

Lycée Gerville Réache, Rue de la République, Gerville-Reache High School in Guadeloupe, Carribbean

This capacity was judged insufficient with regards to the different learning tracks proposed, when 25% of their students come from communities at least thirty kilometers away from the school’s neighborhood of Rivière-des-Pères. Since May, the directors of the school have found themselves confronted with a particularly difficult exercise, which consists of choosing the students who will benefit from a spot in the boarding school. And each time, there are about eighty students for whom the establishment doesn’t have an immediate response. From this, the idea came to create a network of parents in the neighborhood who could help house students until more rooms could be built at the school. The system was created by building relationships between parents and student boarders. This was to ensure that the parents could feel confident about opening their home to the students.

An Indispensable Tool

However, a boarding school has become more and more indispensable. And the applications to the school have not ceased. They come from all across the region. In effect, the community will construct a new dorm with fifty beds situated in individual bedrooms. The building will meet environmental standards and will be of a bioclimatic architectural quality. It is in this way that the president of the region, Victorin Lurel, found himself at the site. He was there to visit the school, to be certain, but above all to participate in the placement of the cornerstone of the dorm in the presence of its architects, a delegation of high schoolers, and a representative from the academy.

The dorm is set to be built with an area of 1,434 square meters. It will include a building for seventeen girls, including one room for a person of reduced mobility, and a building for thirty-three boys, of which two will be accessible to those with reduced mobility. The building will also be home to work rooms, bedrooms for the supervisors of the boarding school, an office and living quarters for a nurse, as well as common rooms (a lobby, two television rooms, the head supervisor’s office, etc.). The total cost of the operation comes to 2.5 million euros, for a completion date set for back-to-school 2015.

"A Building That Reflects the Principles of Sustainable Development”

Lycée Gerville-Réache, Rue de la République, Gerville-Reache High School in Guadeloupe, Carribbean

Lycée Gerville-Réache, Rue de la République, Gerville-Reache High School in Guadeloupe, Carribbean

The construction of the new boarding school began with a desire to respect the environment and to create a building of a bioclimatic architectural quality. In effect, the project, which is concerned with sustainable development, falls into the category of a High Quality Environmental Project (HQE). As an example, the installation and orientation of the buildings stems from a critical analysis of the constraints and helpful qualities of the site. The chosen orientation constitutes the best compromise between having passive cooling and optimal solar protection. The acoustics of the building were equally taken into account.

Important Repairs

In the framework of its policies surrounding the modernization of high schools, the region does important repairs to schools every year. These adjustments are necessary to the proper functioning of the establishments, on the level of security as well as hygiene and work conditions.

At Raoul-Georges-Nicolo, the work programmed for the year 2014 will principally consist in the restoration and watertightness of certain buildings, upkeep on structural elements, replacing glass walls with wooden framework, a compliance upgrade for the electricity in the existing dorm, diverse paint jobs and carpentry work, etc.

“A Worksite with a Pedagogical Character”

“The presence of president Lurel at our establishment confirms the community’s active part in the realization of our boarding school project. The work site has begun, and if there aren’t any incidents, we can hope to welcome students there at the beginning of the next school year. Our students are taught to work in the field of sustainable development, so it only makes sense that this dorm would respect High Quality Environmental standards. It is also a worksite-school, with a pedagogical character. This is to say that our students will participate, over the course of ten months, in meetings and visits to the worksite. They will also have to work on the plans for the building.”

How do you think other schools (without the particular conditions of Raoul-Georges-Nicolo) could work to make sustainability part of everyday classroom learning?

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

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Katelyn Hewett recently graduated from St. Olaf College in Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French. During her time at St. Olaf, she enjoyed playing the French Horn in the St. Olaf Band, working as a teaching assistant for first-year...

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