KOTA KINABALU – After years of waiting, the building works of the St Francis Convent Secondary School are progressing smoothly at its Bukit Padang site here. This was reported at the 4th Briefing-cum-Site Inspection held on 23 Feb 2016 at the site office. Present at the briefing were Archbishop John Wong and the Board of Management headed by Mary Florence Gomez. Members of the Building Committee and other consultants were also present.
According to Henry Wong of CL Contractor Sdn Bhd, and Consultants Chairman Kenneth Fung, uptodate there has been a 25 percent structural progress and 13 percent financial progress since the commencement of the building works on 7 Sept 2015. The fine weather has helped tremendously in the laying of the groundworks. After the briefing those present went to inspect the work done so far.
St Francis’ Convent School, North Borneo’s (now Sabah) first school for girls, was built in 1922, catering for less than 100 girls. The continuous success of the school necessitated the construction of the St. Francis Convent Secondary School in Jalan Kebajikan in 1959. Currently, about 850 girls are enrolled in the school.
However, the present premises are too congested for any further expansion as the school is virtually limited by the land area surrounded on one side by the hills and Jalan Kebajikan/Jalan Mawar on the other. Moreover, its structures are getting worn out and would require a high maintenance cost. It is but logical to move to a new and bigger site.
Talks for the setting up of the secondary school building committee began in mid-1999 through the active participation of the alumni body i.e. the Ex-Franciscan Association and the Parents-Teachers Association. The school was able to acquire the new site behind the primary school in Bukit Padang.
The ground breaking ceremony took place on 4 Oct 2002 officiated by then Chief Minister Datuk Chong Kah Kiat after it was blessed by then Bishop John Lee. However, in the intervening years, nothing much was done until a new Board of Management was appointed in 2014. The revised development plan was approved in June 2014 and the new building plans were approved in August 2014.
The proposed school has two 4-storey blocks with a central atrium:
– One block of 22 classrooms and living skills workshops
– One block of science laboratories, administrative offices, staffroom, library and special rooms.
Overall construction cost including infrastructure works is estimated at RM12 million. The targeted completion date is 2018.
Much funds are needed to realise the school project. The Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri (LHDN) has approved this school project as eligible for income tax exemption. Official tax exemption receipts for donations received from 15 March 2015 to 14 March 2018 will be issued under the reference no. LHDN.01/35/42/51/179-6.5801.
The school is a “premier school” with a long history of highly reputable academic record of achievements spanning through a period of 93 years since its inception by the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of St Joseph. It strives to offer an education for the holistic development of students in the spiritual, moral, intellectual, emotional, social and physical dimensions. With much emphasis now given to providing students with adequate technical facilities for IT literacy, sufficient classrooms for a single session and conducive surroundings for learning and recreational activities, the school needs financial support from all those interested in giving the best to future generations in order for the project to reach its target of completion in 2018.
For more information, please visit its website at www.franciscanskk.org.