25 августа 2014 18:52

Boarding school in decay in Karaganda


The building of boarding school in Karaganda city. Photo courtesy of Nv.kz. The building of boarding school in Karaganda city. Photo courtesy of Nv.kz.

A boarding school for visually impaired children in the city of Karaganda in central Kazakhstan is in decay, Tengrinews reports citing Nv.kz.

A boarding school for visually impaired children in the city of Karaganda in central Kazakhstan is in decay, Tengrinews reports citing Nv.kz.

The construction of the boarding school for visually impaired children kicked off in 2006 as part of the 100 Schools, 100 Hospitals government-run program. More than $5.5 million were allocated from the state budget for this large-scale project. However, despite such an impressive amount of money, the building was not finished and put into service. When everything was almost ready, the construction works suddenly froze and have stayed this way since. Now the the boarding school is in decay.

The boarding school was supposed to accommodate 250 children from all over the country. It had six residential blocks, a boiler house, a laundry and a vegetable storage.

Eight years have passed since the construction froze and the only thing that remains now is to demolish the once almost finished buildings. Plastic windows are broken, the roof leaks, the basement was flooded by spring meltwater, and the entire interior was long spoiled by winter frosts. This also indicates that serious technological violations were committed during the construction works.

According to residents of a neighboring house, homeless and drug addicts use gather in the decaying building at night, and someone even built a fire inside the building several times.

“You know, in 2011, the building was almost ready. A linoleum flooring was in place, all the electric wiring was finished. Even people from some university came to clean up, wash the windows and floors to get the building ready for commissioning. Then, everything became quiet again, the children never arrived,” a resident of a neighboring house Bagdad Sakenov is quoted as saying by Nv.kz, “In my opinion, this is chaos, because so much money was invested. Almost everything was ready.”

“If people had settled there and the heating had been turned on, everything would have been fine. But now all the windows are broken, the tiles inside cracked, the plaster crumbled. It is not visible from this side, but if you go around and take a look from the side near School №101, it looks terrible from there. There was a huge playground, where boys used to play football. And what is it now? The football field was seized and the boarding school was never finished. The money went into someone's pockets,” a Karaganda resident Nina Dmitrievna said in an outrage, “A couple of years ago, the School №101 school director asked the authorities to let the school use at least one blocks (of the newly constructed building). But as you see, this permission was not issued either. If it was, maybe at least some of the buildings would have been saved."

“By the way, they even installed the elevators there. And some lights used to be switched on on the facade of building during night time,” one of the neighbors said.

However, not all residents of the nearby houses are so concerned with the unfinished building under their windows.

“Who cares, as if this happens for the first time,” they shrug their shoulders with indifference, “Here, this one is not completed, there other one. It is high time to get used to it. Well, of course, these hollow windows are annoying, but there is no point in indignation, nothing is going to change anyway. Journalists from a TV channel or a newspaper once came over, but so what? No result.”

"It is even unclear why it was decided to build a boarding school for visually impaired in Karaganda. There already is a similar boarding school in the city, and more than a hundred children of various ages study there. It is also unclear why the boarding school had to be built from scratch, rather than just expanding the existing one (boarding school), perhaps, there were certain reasons for it. This all seems unreasonable, but there is always someone who benefits in the picture. Besides, ministers and department chiefs have been changing all the time in the past several years so if there was someone responsible for the situation, he or she must have been long gone and has nothing to do with the project now,” one of the neighboring houses’ resident commented.

The regional education department did not have much to say about the buildings.

“We will carry out an evaluation to identify the required amount of money. It will take around three months. After that we will file a request to the competent budget planning authority,” the education department of Karaganda city commented, “Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Education and Science was the ordering party in the project. Our department was just channeling the funding for the project.”

Two years ago, the issue of the unfinished boarding school was raised by Buran Rakhimbekov, chairman of the Party Control Committee of Kazakhstan’s ruling Nur Otan party. "Construction of the building as part of the 100 schools, 100 hospitals program has been ongoing in Karaganda since 2006. According to the plan, the facility had to be commissioned in 2008, but only 80 percent of the work was completed,” he said.

It seem that not much has been left from those 80 percent now, since the building is literally collapsing. And the question about the future fate of the unfinished boarding school remain unanswered to the day. There are two possible options: it will be either be reconstructed again (with more budget funds spent) and put into operation, or it will be demolished once and for all. In any case, the huge amount of money allocated for its construction is as good as wasted.

Writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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