TN Tatem Middle School will be used for a range of “community minded activities that would assist particularly young people in the Warwick area”, in the months ahead while government makes a final decision on the fate of the facility.
Public Works Minister Lieutenant Colonel David Burch told MPs on Friday that a number of activities are being planned for the building, which was closed earlier this year due to mould.
Those activities include a boxing ring in the weight training room, a carpentry shop after school programme, a community kitchen and church services in the school’s auditorium. The school field is also used by the PHC football club.
The Minister noted that all areas to be used have tested clean for mould and air quality issues. He also declared his interest as an MP in that TN Tatem “sits on the boundary” of his district.
The carpentry shop will be run by qualified carpenters. The family centre will be converted into a community kitchen to “provide teaching opportunities for those who wish to learn how to cook and bake” and “kitchen space for those budding entrepreneurs who can no longer produce baked or cooked goods for sale at home as they do not meet stringent health department conditions”.
“Interest has also been expressed in utilization of the gymnasium for a fitness programme and use of the auditorium for church services. Those discussions are ongoing,” he added.
“All of these activities will be under licence for a period that ends on July 31st, 2020 – by which time the Ministry of Education will have made a decision on their future needs for the TN Tatem campus.”
On the recurring mould issue, he said: “You will know that every building needs to breath in order not to deteriorate – we believe these efforts will ensure that the TN Tatem campus will require minor repairs next year to be able to cater to students once again – should that be the Ministry of Education’s decision.
“In a practical sense this temporary use of TN Tatem will provide tangible assistance to a wide cross section of our community and protect the integrity of this asset.”
In the interim he said the buildings simply could not “remain shuttered for an entire school year.
“Everyone knows what happens when any building in our subtropical climate is closed. It’s the perfect environment for mould and mildew, Bermuda’s national flower, to flourish,” said Col Burch.
Retaining a physical presence on site would also “discourage vandalism, damage or even unauthorized occupancy of the building” – “all of which have occurred”.