Senate president and secretary of education-designate report on visit to Ponce area schools
By John McPhaul
The president of the Senate Government Commission Ramoncito Ruiz Nieves, visited last Saturday several schools in the district of Ponce with the secretary-designate of the Department of Education, Dr. Yanira Raíces, in order to examine ‘in situ’ the conditions of the same.
“I appreciate the availability of Dr. Raíces to visit the twelve (12) municipalities that make up the Ponce Educational Region, which has an approximate enrollment of 36,351 premises, the improvements that are being made to this school and all the schools that make up the municipality of Ponce, “said the district senator.
From Ponce, the officials traveled to Peñuelas to join Mayor Gregory Gonsález Souchet to know at what stage the work is in the new Josefa Vélez Bauzá High School, which is being enabled at an approximate cost of $14 million.
“In it, some approaches were brought regarding the classrooms or spaces to carry out the therapies of the students who need them. In the same way, the issue of other pending facilities to be built was discussed since about 12 additional rooms are required, “ said Ruiz Nieves.
During the meeting, Raíces committed to both the Mayor and the Senator to coordinate matters concerning the schools to be operational as of Thursday, August 10 and be in compliance by Wednesday, August 16, so that the new school semester can begin. The team then moved to Yauco to assess the final stage of the construction of new modular classrooms at the Luis Muñoz Marín Vocational High School.
“We recall that the academic area comprises about 60 classrooms that were affected by the tremors of January 2020, which led this school to an “interlocking” program. The commitment is that by Wednesday, August 16, the project of the 31 rooms has been completed, which was divided into three phases, with the final phase of 11 rooms. Then we visited the Loiza Cordero High School, to know where we are at this date, and the possibility that by December of this year 2023, that school campus will be finished for the enrollment of the 235 students who study at the Loiza Cordero, “ said the legislator.
The visit to Yauco was coordinated so that Mayor Ángel Luis ‘Luigi’ Torres Ortiz was present, to discuss several projects on the existing campuses, and in the same way, include the two schools that the municipality is working to meet the total need of the educational area of Yaucán families. During the visit to the town of Guayanilla with Mayor Raúl Rivera, the issue of the new Hipólito García school to be built in the Los Indios neighborhood was discussed.
“This school plays a very important role, since currently the student population has to travel from Barrio Los Indios to the Rafael Dapena school in the urban center, which is a trip of about 45 minutes in the morning and then in the afternoon, therefore the construction of the modular school is a requirement to be able to replace the old Hipólito García school. Finally, our tour ended in Guánica, together with Mayor Ismael “Titi” Rodríguez, where we visited the new José Rodríguez de Soto modular school, the second largest modular school built in Puerto Rico after the telluric events,” added the senator.
“In this case, the demand of yours truly is that the five modular schools built will work the facilities of indoor courts so that students can practice the discipline of physical education in addition to having a recreation area and practicing various sports. From there we went to the José Rodríguez de Soto school, a centennial building located in the Ensenada neighborhood so that Dr. Raíces could see the facilities and listen to the demands of the population to rebuild this structure that is an icon of the town of Guánica, “said Ruiz Nieves.
Finally, the senator again thanked the availability of the designated secretary of the Department of Education, and assured that he will continue to supervise responsibly. “If there is a sector of the population of the district of Ponce that has suffered hard from the earthquakes in the southern zone, it is the students. More than three years after those events, we have to continue to bring the claim of justice for them, “concluded the legislator.