Mangan, September 7, 2012:
The District Collector (North), TW Khangsarpa, inaugurated two newly built classrooms of Ideal Nursery School, Mangan on Wednesday. The classrooms which were destroyed by last year’s earthquake were rebuilt with the help of a local NGO.
Ideal Nursery School is the oldest private school in North Sikkim which has been educating people of the place for the last thirty years. In the seventies, local people felt the need of having a private nursery school where they could send their children to get a firm foundation for their education. Local people and Government officials posted here collected money and provided free labour for building the school rooms. Late Chewang Negi and tlate Dr. Agnihotri were some of the prime movers of this experiment. Since its inception in 1982, the school has been run on a self sustaining basis by SM Tenzing.
The school structure was damaged beyond repair by last year’s earthquake. The then DC North, TN Kazi had promised a two roomed bamboo prefab structure for housing the school children. The platform for the structure as per sizes given by the fabricators was prepared and made ready during the winters. Due to various reasons, despite repeated letters to the Government agencies involved, the prefab units were not sent. So when a Gangtok based NGO, Ecotourism and Conservation Society of Sikkim (ECOSS), approached the DC for choosing a school to provide post earthquake rehabilitation, Kazi immediately brought them over to Ideal Nursery School. ECOSS is headed by Sikkim Lok Sabha MP, PD Rai.
In a meeting between School Management, ECOSS and Pan IIT engineers in May, various options were put forward including geodesic domes, bamboo structure and Ekra frame. Pan IIT is a group of IIT engineers who provide free consultancy and advice to disaster stricken areas. They had visited Sikkim after the earthquake. Ekra frame GCI roofing was finally chosen due to familiarity of construction method, lightness of the structure and reasonable cost. The construction was started in June 2012. To make it more earthquake proof the following innovations have been made in consultations with Pan IIT engineers.
A plinth band runs all round the base of the Ekra frame. Corner bracings have been provided to strengthen the Ekra frame. Wooden gusset frames and steel clamps have been added to make the truss and the truss frame connections stronger.
Similarly, in consultation with Pan IIT, Building as Learning Aid (Bala) elements have been introduced to make the building more children friendly. Bala elements include symmetrical drawing on entrance door, ground level blackboards, grid boards and dot boards, engraved lettering for children to touch and learn, labeling of classrooms, etc. Future plans for Bala elements include painting more games on floors and verandahs, numbering of stairs, educational security grills including mock counters for buying & selling, protractors below doors, etc.
Another Gangtok based NGO has promised the school a few computers which should be put in place within this academic session. Regarding help for reconstruction, the school has to primarily thank ECOSS and Matrix Clothing for providing Rupees three lakhs for the two roomed structure. The money was used for constructing the two rooms and for building a small office and toilet and repairing and repainting the old room.
The Mangan Nagar Panchayat, through Zongmu Bhutia has also helped by providing rupees twenty five thousand as ex gratia payment which was used in dismantling the old structure and making a platform for a new structure. Area MLA Tshering Wangdi, provided 60 sheets of prepainted GCI through the RMDD housing scheme. Other NGOs and individuals have provided tents, water purifiers, buckets, etc. for helping the school tide over its last eight months under tents.