Chomphet Lower Secondary School was built in 1931 by Catholic nuns. It is located in Sisatthanak District near Chinaimo, 6 to 7 kilometers from the Vientiane Capital center. It has since been handed over to the Lao government. It became Vientiane’s first public school. Since it’s handover, it evolved to become a lower secondary school. Lower secondary school comprises grades 6, 7 and 8.
The school grounds are surrounded by ponds on two sides. When the rains are heavy, the ponds can overflow and flood the school grounds. During other parts of the year, the grounds are soft and unusable as a needed football field.
The complex of buildings built in 1932 are in a state of disrepair. The old church roof is decrepit, the bathrooms and toilets are over 80 years old. The school building is in incredibly poor condition with broken or no window covers, doors, roofs, etc. The buildings should be condemned by any western standards, but it is what they have and what they use.
There are two classroom buildings with seven usable classrooms to accommodate almost 400 students or an average 55-60 students per classroom. One was built in 1931 and comprises seven classrooms of which four are structurally too dangerous to be used. A three-room classroom was built in 2011 by Chomphet school teachers, school administrators and local villagers with funding from a local organization.
The Vientiane Capital city committed to replace two classrooms, which is still four classrooms short of what is needed. Chomphet school administrators indicated that they are still waiting a year after the commitment and acknowledged that the city capital budget is strained.
Give Children A Choice and B.L. Harbert
Give Children A Choice (GCAC) has been searching for support to help the Chomphet lower secondary school since 2010. A fortuitous circumstance joined GCAC with B.L. Harbert, the American contractor responsible for building the new U.S. Embassy Compound (NEC) in Vientiane Capital. GCAC is a US-based 501c3 nonprofit corporation and an INGO registered with the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Non-Government Organization (INGO) Department.
B.L. Harbert and its engineers committed their time and resources to re-grade the flooded area with additional soil to keep the school grounds dry year round. They will supply trucks, engineering expertise, manpower and soil. This is expected to occur towards the end of 2013.
B.L. Harbert will also donate their temporary modular building used as an administrative/guardhouse during the NEC construction. B.L. Harbert requires its removal from the NEC compound during the second half of November 2013. They are donating funds and equipment required to dismantle, transport and rebuild the building on the Chomphet school grounds.
The new building will be placed between the old church building and the street, on the piece of land pictured to the right. This is the land that needs to be raised, graded and cement reinforced with pillars for the new building to be placed on .
Approvals have been received from the Sisatthanak District and Vientiane Capital Education and Sports Department, the project has been endorsed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and is pending signature from the Vientiane Capital Governor. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has asked to join our handover ceremony along with B.L. Harbert.