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Corobrik constructs R1.5m classroom block and ablution facilities for Gauteng school

community

Pupils at Inkululeko Yesizwe Primary School in Vlakfontein near Lawley,Gauteng, are relishing using the school's first brick and mortar classroom block

and ablution facilities which were constructed by Corobrik's Lawley factory. 


The R1.5 million project, which was first envisioned in 2010, goes towards fulfilling the duty required by government that all mining corporations getinvolved in the development of the local community. However, Lawley factory manager, Andreas Ntseki, said, more than this, Corobrik's employees were excited to be involved in such a worthwhile initiative. 


We find a lot of joy in doing this work, said Ntseki. It is a costly job but it is so appreciated by the local community that we are proud to have accomplished what we have.


The school, which has an enrolment of 1 347 learners from Grade R to Grade 7, is based in the Vlakfontein township. 


Ntseki explained that Corobrik had involved the local community in the choice of school.


My predecessor approached the local ward councillor in 2010 to discuss our options and Inkululeko was suggested. I took over the project in April 2011 and supported the decision fully. The construction of these facilities uplifts the whole community.


He explained that the school was made up of entirely prefabricated classrooms

which were in a state of severe disrepair. 


"The buildings are suspended on stands and some of the classroomshad holes in the floor which was extremely dangerous for the learners. This meant that some of the children had to be taught outside."


He said the ablution facilities were also severely lacking and desperately needed to be replaced. 


"The ablution facilities were awful, just a mess, so we decided to replace a portion of these as well."


The classroom block consists of four classrooms alongside the ablution facilities. Physical construction of the facilities began in 2012 with finalisation this year.The 186 m2 buildings were constructed using two of Corobrik's face bricks; the Montana Travertine and Nebraska Travertine. 


The Montana Travertine is a red and blue brick which was used for the bottom of the buildings so as not to show dirt, explained Ntseki. The Nebraska Travertine is a yellow or cream brick and was used from the windows upwards.


The two colours worked really well together to provide lively contrast that will stand the test of time and assure a lifetime of low maintenance. 


Ntseki said more and more social infrastructure buildings are being constructed using Corobrik's face bricks because of the proven sustainability, aesthetic appeal and superior comfort conditions, safety and security that clay walls provide. 


"While clay bricks are extremely durable, clay brick wall construction is well proven for providing the most thermally efficient classroom environments, this so important for aiding learner concentration. Research by the University of Pretoria well validates clay brick constructions superior performance attributes over lightweight IBT specified in compliance with SANS517 standards."


Ntseki said The important low lifetime costs aside, there are few building materials and methodologies that can add to nation building as effectively as claybrick in construction does. The failure of the prefabricated alternate building technologies on this site represents the antithesis of what is good and proper for social infrastructure buildings and the community knows that. 


"We are just pleased part of this community upliftment project and to witness the pride expressed by learners and staff using the facility." 


The school's energetic principal, Ndifelani Mamphoto, said the staff and learners were ecstatic with the newly-constructed facilities. 


"The classrooms are being used by the senior classes, Grades 4 to 7, and we started using the classrooms before they were even fully completed. That is how desperate we are for classes, explained Mamphoto. It is the only brick and mortar building we have, the rest are prefabricated classes and they often collapse which means we must get the children out of the classroom and teach elsewhere. The brick structures have much more integrity.


All the learners want to be taught in the new building. They are actually running to the classrooms because they are one of a kind and a wonderful place to study.


She said the brick building is also a fantastic controller of climate. 


"It gets very hot in summer and cold in winter so it helps when learners are taught there."


Ntseki explained that each factory must complete a social upliftment project within the local community every five years. 


We are near completion with the classroom block so we are turning our attention to the next possible project, he said, adding that they were looking at another project involving social infrastructure improvements.


"It might possibly be construction of a creche. We're so involved in construction that there is no better way to contribute. It's an opportunity to give back to the community using products made from the raw materials that we have taken from the ground." 


Pictured above:  

Lawley factory manager, Andreas Ntseki  is pictured with the newly completed Inkululeko Yesizwe Primary School in Vlakfontein, Gauteng,  whichhas been built by Corobrik using Corobrik's Montana Travertine and Nebraska Travertine clay face bricks.