The government has been asked to fast track the construction of permanent structures to take in over 600 students of the Oreilly Senior High School in Accra.
The school, established in 1925, currently operates in a rented apartment in Adabraka, a suburb of Accra.
The government is said to be paying USD 15,000 monthly for the use of the rented structures since owners of the apartment threatened to forcefully eject the students in 2010.
Work on the school’s new campus at Okpoi Gonno in the Ledzokuku Krowor Municipal Assembly (LEKMA) has stalled due to the delay in the payment of contractors.
The infrastructure includes an administration and classroom block, a science laboratory, as well as dormitories for both male and female students.
The project, which began in 2011, is being financed by the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund).
It was supposed to be completed before the commencement of the 2012-2013 academic year.
But a visit to the site over the weekend revealed that the site was still not ready for academic work to begin with less than a week for schools to reopen.
While an existing facility on the new site has been secured as temporary classrooms, the first floor of the boys dormitory has also been completed.
A two storey 18-unit classroom block is also at the foundation level.
The 24.4 acre land on which the construction is being done has also been seriously encroached on, leaving the school with very little space to operate even when they are to move there.
O’Reilly was founded in 1925 at Korle Worko in Accra and has since its establishment, not had a permanent site.
The school has moved from Tudu, through James Town, Kokomlemle, to Workers College, settling finally at its present site at Adabraka.
It is the fourth oldest senior high school in the country.
The acting President of the Oreilly Old Students Associaton, Mr Emmanuel Amoako Yirenkyi led the delegation which also included its Secretary, Mr Sulley Paa Alidu
Mr Yirenkyi told the Daily Graphic that urgent steps had to be taken to move the students to the site.
According to him, parents and the entire student population were unsure of the school’s future as at now.
He said the government had to take steps to reclaim the encroached land of the school through an executive instrument for work to proceed.
The school’s Okpoi Gonno site was allocated to it in the late 1960s by the government, according to Mr Yirenkyi.
Since then however, no effort has been taken to develop it.
In September 2011, the Ghana Education Service (GES) initiated moves to phase the school out.
It asked for the transfer of all students and staff of the school to other schools as a result of the service’s inability to purchase the rented facility.
The GES, directed in a letter dated August 9, 2010, that no form one students should be admitted for the 2010-2011 academic year. The then SHS Two students of the school, according to the letter, were to be distributed among other SHSs, while the staff were to be reposted.
Major stakeholders of the school, including the old students resisted the move vehemently.
Owners of the Adabraka facilty had served a 2011 deadline for the school to leave or buy the property outright.
Though the executive members of the old students association were grateful that the government had heeded their call to develop the new campus, they said it was urgent for the facility to be completed as soon as possible.
They commended the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for LEKMA, Mr Daniel Mensah for his tireless effort of ensuring that the edifice was completed on schedule.
“It is commendable the effort that the government has put into our new campus so far but it is important to equally deal with the issue of land encroachment and to also ensure that the project is completed on time for the children to move. The current state in which they find themselves is deplorable,” Mr Yirenkyi told the Daily Graphic.
For his part, Mr Alidu appealed to old students who were not part of the association to get on board and assist in the relocation and construction of the new site for the school.
“Our school has produced great men and women for the development of this country but because of its current state, none of them wants to associate with us. I think that we should all come on board to make things work,” he said.
O’Reilly was established by Reverend O'Reilly, a Sierra Leonean missionary. It was adopted by the government in 1960 as a public school.