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Canadian Construction Association making some progress with Haiti trade school rebuild

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Foundation construction on Haitian trades school Ecole Lakay is expected to be completed by August, recently reported the Canadian Construction Association's (CCA) chair.

Foundation construction on Haitian trades school Ecole Lakay is expected to be completed by August, recently reported the Canadian Construction Association's (CCA) chair.

“It is a very slow process,” said Serge Massicotte, CCA chair.

“The good news is that we are moving forward.”

Massicotte provided the update at the association’s recent director’s board meeting in Victoria, B.C. The CCA chair noted that the rebuilding of the trades school, destroyed by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake in 2010 which rocked Haiti, is slowly picking up momentum.

The CCA became involved in the project four years ago when it teamed up with L’association de la construction du Quebec (ACQ) and the British Columbia Construction Association.

This trio of construction associations then partnered with Builders Without Borders and The Rinaldi Foundation to rebuild the school.

The CCA raised over $973,000 for the project and an estimated $400,000 is being donated in goods and materials.

Site preparation for the school rebuild was completed in December 2013, including canal in-fill and relocation and demolition of a water reservoir, a septic tank and removal of debris.

Grading, infill and compaction to finished grade were also completed.

Fifty-two helical piles were placed in late January and trench and foundation work preparation was underway at Ecole Lakay in early March.

Concrete pouring for the foundations started in mid-May, said Massicotte.

“Also, the structural steel is all there,” he said.

“Once we get that going we will be able to move forward.”

Jean Pouliot, former ACQ chair and president of Produits métalliques PMI, has committed that he and his crew will perform the steel erection on a volunteer basis once the foundation work is completed.

Massicotte said there have been discussions held to explore the possibility of having someone stay in Haiti for “a few weeks at a time” in order to help guide the project forward.

The project has run into challenges over the last four years. Issues such as a site change, project scope and size change, the Rinaldi Foundation not having enough funds in place to do the site works and the hunt for qualified local contractors to assist in the build have tested the project partners.

However, the CCA and its partners state they remain undeterred in their commitment to deliver a school which will contribute to the welfare and future of local Haitian youth and tradespeople and meet the goal of project organizers and donors.

by Vince Versace

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