Building Our Future - Newsletter

Phase 1 and Phase 2

Phase 1 commenced in July and, as we go to print, we are hopeful that the handover date, Monday 15th December, will be met. The building company ELPS, Mr Fernandez de la Campa and Mr Lynch are working hard to ensure that all set dates in the planning schedule are met so that the first part of the project is delivered on time and to the required standards.

On Friday 21st November a Pilot Classroom was completed and shown to the primary staff so they would have a very clear understanding of the classrooms that will be provided within the new building. Two groups of staff visited the site, seeing first-hand the dimensions and layout of the classroom and providing the opportunity for questions to be answered and for suggestions from staff to be assimilated.

As we near the end of Phase 1 we are also starting to plan and prepare for Phase 2 - the demolition and renovation of the secondary block that runs from the English classrooms to, and including, the biology laboratory. Staff involved in this move are already packing and preparing for the transition. This transition will see the secondary classes moving (temporarily until the end of this academic year) into the new building; the building that is ultimately assigned for Primary. The reasons for this are:

  • Short holiday for a Primary move - Pri-mary have a lot of equipment, relocating these over the Christmas period would be difficult.
  • Two moves simultaneously - a move of Primary to the new building and Secondary into the temporary block would necessitate the temporary block, currently used by Primary, to be vacated and cleared . The time available over the winter holiday would make this very difficult to complete before the start of the new term.
  • Away from construction zone - the current transition plans keep our youngest students away from the construction site for the vast majority of the building project.
  • A new adjustment - although the sum-mer move went very well, it was also stressful and burdensome for our staff who have just settled into new accommodation. The young students have also adjusted and assimilated the routines and expectations of their new accommodation. Another, almost immediate change was deemed inappropriate for students and staff.
  • Drop-off zone - if Primary moved to the new building the arrangements at the beginning of the day for dropping off and escorting the younger students to their classroom would be affected and we would need additional staffing.

As we will have access to the new building on Monday 15th December we are looking to stage one of our annual Christmas Celebrations in the new facility. Holding this celebration in school will provide the opportunity for the community to see the new building whilst allowing the school community to celebrate Christmas, the end of a hectic term and the completion of Phase 1 of the building project together. More details will follow but the date is set for Thursday 18th December and we ask that you mark this important date clearly in your calendar.

Financial update from Treasurer Robert Hopkins

In late May, when we presented the costs and funding for the building project, it was based on a fixed interest rate, 15-year loan at 5.476%, with monthly payments of 16,316 euros. That was the best offer we had received, but we continued to negotiate with 2 banks on a confidential basis to see if we could do even better.

In late June, Bankinter made a spectacular new offer, which BBVA improved by an additional 0.1%. We signed the BBVA loan, set at the Euribor + 0.20% 90-day index plus a 1.90% differential for 2.10% for the first 90-day period. It's a variable rate loan, revised every 90 days.

Having recommended a fixed term loan to the parents association in May, I should explain why I changed tactics. The reasons are two: first, the differential between the variable and fixed term loans was larger than the risk of the variable rate increasing, and second, since the reference index is the 90-day Euribor instead of the usual 1-year Euribor, the reference is closer to the 0% anchor at 0 days, making it harder for the index to vary substantially.

The 2.10% loan monthly payment amounts to only 12,962 euros, a big drop from 16,316 euros. If today's interest rates were to hold for 15 years, we would save 603,720 euros in interest payments over the life of the 2 million euro loan. Our actual savings will be less, but they will be substantial.

The interest rate drop was due to a European Central Bank initiative announced on June 4th that trickled through to our local banks just in time for us to take advantage of it. We were very fortunate, and it bodes well for the financial side of the project in general.



Safety

With regards to general safety on the site we have had extensive meetings and in-depth reviews of this aspect of the project, and have received assurances and confir-mation on the standards currently in place. The site recently had an independ-ent inspection by the Inspección Provincial de Trabajo y Seguridad Social de Las Pal-mas, with standards, procedures and doc-umentation being verified and accredit-ed. Regular visits by these officials are ex-pected and welcomed. We are also con-stantly reviewing and updating our needs, working closely with the architect and our Health and Safety officer to ensure the highest standards are always in place. We will keep you informed of developments in this area.

Day-to-Day Routines


With the return of the students from holidays the school campus has come to life and the new organisational arrangements have quickly become the norm for the students. The children are generally happy with the temporary classrooms, with each being larger than the previous classes. There have been teething issues, particularly related to the electricity supply, but Cristobal, the ELPS Company and Mr Fernandez de la Campa, our architect, have been particularly active in finding solutions. We are also in contact with the Ayuntamiento and the Departamento de Tráfico, seeking additional road safety barriers in order to make us more confident with road use near our school and are lobbying hard for a decision to our petition.

Other Preparation Work

21aug2014-other-work

Other work has also been completed to support and augment the construction project.

  • In order to ensure the temporary classrooms have full internet access a new fibre optic cable has been installed to provide internet connection to all areas of the school.
  • Access to the upper floor of the temporary classrooms has been prepared and made secure and safe for the start of classes in September.
  • An additional classroom has been built in the area of the library, to provide additional teaching space.

Gallery - Library Classroom >>


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