Designers help rebuild school

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Sunday, December 29, 2013


BOHOL—For over two months, Samantha Lopez has been listening to lessons from her teachers inside a tent.

“Init kaayo (It is very hot),” said the 15-year-old junior high school student, who admitted she sometimes loses her focus in the discomfort.

Her school, Saint Vincent Institute (SVI), in Barangay Poblacion, Maribojoc was destroyed during the magnitude 7.2 earthquake last Oct. 15.

A magnitude 4.3 earthquake hit Bohol at 4:21 p.m. yesterday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) reported. The Department of Education (DepEd) said there are more than 2,000 classrooms damaged by last October’s quake in Bohol and Cebu.

As the new year is approaching, Lopez is pleased that she and her 289 schoolmates will have a new school building.

Lopez was among the students, faculty, and school administrators who witnessed the groundbreaking ceremony of a new school that will be built through the Oplan Bangon Bohol’s (OBB) initiative.

The group is mostly composed of private individuals of Bohol decent, including beauty
titlist Anna Maris Igpit.

A ground-breaking ceremony was also held in the grounds of another parochial school, Sacred Heart Academy (SHA), in Loon. It has 849 students.

“We want to help parochial schools because they are least prioritized,” said Igpit.

She said most of the OBB members, including her, are products of parochial schools.

Another OBB convenor, lawyer Greg Delgado, said they hope their projects would serve as “catalyst” for other groups, architects, and engineers to construct school buildings in other quake-ravaged towns.

World-class

The model of the schoolbuilding was designed by New York City-based Filipina architect Aya Maceda. World-famous Cebuano furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue will also help her.

Igpit said she first contacted Cobonpue, who is developing rain-proof screens, about their project. Cobonpue forwarded her concern to Maceda, who immediately offered her help.

Maceda finished her master’s degree in advanced architectural design at Columbia University in New York. She took her undergraduate studies in architecture at the University of the Philippines.

Her schoolbuilding model is not the usual type of structure built by the Department of Education (DepEd), which is made mostly of concrete, said Maceda.

“I want to design a classroom that is more dynamic,” she said.

She said the edifice is spacious and can be used by the community for other purposes like seminars. Native materials like bamboo and lumber will be used.

“I want to promote the cottage industry,” she said.

Lumber, she said, is resilient to earthquake because when such calamity occurs it sways. Her model schoolbuilding is also environment-friendly.

“Everything is open air…the veranda is elevated. The floor is raised because if it touched the ground, it will dampen,” said Maceda.

A prototype, she estimates, costs about P1 million. The first one is projected to be completed by early next year.

Igpit said OBB has raised P2.6 million for their relief efforts in Bohol, Cebu and Yolanda-ravaged Tacloban City.

She said the education officials they have a meeting with regarding the project are willing to let Maceda’s build her model school building.

Maceda said she is finalizing the structural plan, after DepEd gave her the government standards.

Beginnings

The officials of OBB, which was created through the social media, will meet again with DepEd in five days and they are positive that the officials will approve the schoolbuilding.

The government, said Maceda, should construct classrooms that are like “jail cells.”

Aside from OBB volunteers, Igpit said they will involve the students, teachers, school administrators and residents in rebuilding the schools.

For SVI Director Fr. Warren Abarquez and SHA Director Fr. Joel Stelieto Ruyeras, they are glad about Oplan Bangon Bohol’s projects.

“As the sun continues to shine, we too continue in hoping that someday a more stable place for us to dwell in pursuing our mission of serving the people, especially in the realm of Catholic education,” said Abarquez.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 30, 2013.

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