School gets hall after 40 years

Grade 7 pupils Redah Marlie, Jodi Carstens, Zainab Jardien, Imaad Isaacs and Taryn-Lee Anaries jumps for joy inside their new hall.

There will be no more sitting in the scorching heat or cold weather for the pupils of Parkhurst Primary School in Westridge, because after 40 years, the school now has its own hall.

The school officially received their R6.5 million school hall on their grounds from the Garden Cities Archway Foundation on Saturday November 11.

The foundation has already built 80 halls and nine of them are in Mitchell’s Plain. The Parkhurst Primary hall was completed in July, and consists of an auditorium, raised stage, a mezzanine at the back and toilet facilities.

Parkhurst Primary School principal, Ivan Coraizin, said the school will use the hall for lessons, assemblies, productions, workshops, award ceremonies and parent meetings. He said the hall will also be opened to the community.

“For many years the school sent requests for a school hall, and even before I arrived,” said Mr Coraizin.

“It lends a sense of pride to the parents of children who attend the school, and offers opportunities for residents to create a cohesive social structure round the hub of the community that the hall creates. We will be a community resource, with events such as birthdays, weddings and even church services able to be held here. It will of course also help us with fundraising for all the essential things the school does not have,” he said.

The school had to contribute R250 000 towards the hall. Mr Coraizin said in order to get to that amount the school had to increase the school fees.

“The parents agreed and were keen on paying extra towards the fees. We also used the money that was in the kitty that was accumulated during the buy a brick campaign years ago. I would like to thank the staff of back then and now for their dedication and support, the school is happy to have a school hall now.

“We are very privileged and thankful, but I still feel that in terms of school facilities Mitchell’s Plain schools need more support from government. There are many schools in the area who are in need of basic facilities such as a hall. We have a long way compared to other schools, so as staff and teachers of Mitchell’s Plain we remain hopeful,” he said.

Before the arrival of their own hall, Parkhurst Primary had to depend on the civic centre and more recently the Westridge High School hall, which was also provided by the Archway Foundation, when they needed to host

The Archway Foundation, which was established by the now nearly 100-year-old Garden Cities residential development company, started 12 years ago “going it alone” with the funding and building of the halls but now has the Western Cape Education Department as a financial partner.

The foundation sees to the construction of the halls and the schools also fund-raise to contribute to the project, The foundation hopes, by the centenary of its founding company, in 2019, to have built 100 halls. It also provides bursaries for promising young students and partners the University of the Western Cape (UWC) in a programme to provide science learning centres for disadvantaged schools in the province.

Garden Cities’ group CEO John Matthews said it is a very long way to achieving full equality in terms of facilities such as a hall at all Western Cape schools. “There are still over 600 halls needed and nearly one million children without a hall. Although the Western Cape Education Department’s partnership with the Archway Foundation in the provision of the halls is speeding up the delivery, it would be wonderful if other Cape corporations would join the effort to provide the rest of the much-needed halls. The foundation welcomes financial participation from other corporates who have social investment funds to help accelerate the work,” he said.

Mr Coraizin said the school still need items such as curtains, chairs, sound equipment and other necessities. If anyone would like to donate and sponsor the school, they can contact Parkhurst Primary on 021 371 8910.