Crumbling century-old Fort High School seeks facelift

Crumbling century-old Fort High School seeks facelift

The City’s famed landmark — Fort High School — is on verge of collapse and consigned to dust and pages of history soon.

The 108-year-old, two-storey edifice, whose illustrious alumni included veteran freedom fighter H R Doreswamy, political statesman V S Krishna Iyer and former Indian cricketer G R Vishwanath, today sadly resembles a structure that has braved ravages of time thus far and no more.

The School’s grounds, famous port of call for classical music connoisseurs come March-April for Ramanavami concerts, presents a derelict, shambles state thanks to gross neglect and apathy shown towards its upkeep by the authorities concerned.

The school, which celebrated its centenary in 2005, saw the then Chief Minister N Dharam Singh pledge Rs 15 lakh for its maintenance.  The years following the centenary saw a few repair works undertaken — laying of tiles on walls and floors of classroom. However, a few years later, all activity simply fizzled out. “While work done inside the school was good, there are a number of things needing attention such as repair and plastering of outer walls of the building,” said an old hand of the school.

“If no one takes action soon, the building will collapse in the next few years. However, with proper repair of the entire building, it may last another century or two,” claimed another associated with the school. The public works department under whom maintenance of school falls undertakes minor repairs like plumbing, replacing mud tiled roofs. However, it isn’t sufficient. Several requests have been made to authorities. However, the school has not elicited any positive reply towards its upkeep.

“We sent a letter to PWD last year, asking for complete renovation of the entire building. However, they said such a work would require Rs one crore,” said a professor at Pre-University College housed in the same building. The PU college was started in 1984.

While the government provides salaries of teachers, uniforms, textbooks, mid-day meals and other such things, there are, however, several things needed to be taken care of.

Last year, the school took the help of an NGO in getting books as old as the school for its library, properly arranged. The reading room was also recently furnished with the assistance of a trust.  While two decades ago, the school boasted of a student strength of 1,400 and close to 60 teachers, today there are just 420 students with 15 teachers. Of these, four are due for retirement in the next few months.

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