Steel manufacturing giant, ArcelorMittal South Africa, officially handed over a R45 million newly built Mandela Park Primary School in Slovo Park, in Mthatha, in a gesture that carries critical developmental messages, including CSI and evolution of alternative building technology.
The new school was handed to the Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga and the community of Mthatha, in a ceremony held yesterday and closely positioned for the Nelson Mandela day.
The school in the Eastern Cape, has been built using ArcelorMittal’s alternative building technology using steel frames, a technological development worth watching within South Africa’s building market.
ArcelorMIttal’s alternative building technology solution was developed together with Agrément South Africa. ArcelorMittal said the long term objective is to extend the alternative building system for use in multi-storey facilities.
The company said the alternative building technology has many environmental advantages as the material can be infinitely recycled and is quicker to construct when compared to masonry construction building methods. “Further, the use of innovative Arval steel panels and alternative building technology is in line with the Government’s objective to promote energy efficient and alternative cost-saving building methods. The material is also less labour intensive, has low carbon emissions, saves on water, reduces material wastage and is well insulated”.
The new Mandela Park Primary School structures were built on the same grounds where two old buildings used to house about 1 000 pupils since 1996. The initial structures comprised of a make-shift classrooms and a huge hall which was sub-divided into eight partitioned classrooms, with each class averaging 60 learners.
ArcelorMittal said the new school will accommodate 1 200 pupils in an environment conducive to both learning and teaching as once championed by our former President and world respected icon, Nelson Mandela after whom the school is named.
“We are pleased to hand this gift to the pupils and community of Mthatha. We are excited to continue the legacy of our former president Nelson Mandela who is firm in his belief that education is a key to future success. Providing quality facilities is a pillar to that success,” said Nyembezi-Heita, Chief Executive Officer, ArcelorMittal South Africa
“I cannot compare the gift of education to anything else in the world and as a company we are proud to be the ones giving it to the community of Mthatha today,” added Nyembezi-Heita.
The new state-of-the-art educational facility is equipped with amenities such as a laboratory, a media centre with a computer room eight vegetable tunnels a garden, a fully equipped nutrition centre, two sports grounds, an administrative building with meeting rooms, offices for the principal and vice principal, staff room and a reception area.
Arcelor Mittal said the new school was a result of a partnership it entered to with the Department of Basic Education in 2009. The main aim of the partnership was to make a significant contribution by providing quality educational facilities in underprivileged areas across South Africa. This is the second school that has been built by ArcelorMittal South Africa. The first school to be built and donated was Meetse-A-Bopelo Primary School in Mamelodi (Pretoria East) which was handed over to the Department of Basic Education in November 2010.
Arcelor Mittal added that during the construction phase of Mandela Park Primary School, which started in the later part of 2011, about 120 local community members were trained on how to use alternative building methods and gained employment opportunities through the project. These local contractors will potentially be employed for school maintenance or similar construction projects in the area in the future.
“ArcelorMittal South Africa is committed to uplifting, empowering and improving the lives of our disadvantaged communities through its education focused projects, some of which include the provision of science centres at our plants, said Maggie Mopedi, Manager, Corporate Social Responsibility and External Relations at ArcelorMittal South Africa. “The science centres are situated in Sebokeng, Newscastle and Saldanha. Our core focus is to improve our country’s education as part of our goal to cut down on unemployment in our communities and develop literate and innovative societies”.