Lay of the land

Development is an important part of Pretoria High School for Girls. Recently, large cracks started appearing on the surface of certain sports courts which could ultimately become a problem and a danger to players. Engineers came to investigate and successfully found the root of the problem. Many of the trees near the Pavilion and at the Volleyball courts have been removed. This action was taken in preparation of a more permanent solution.

Mrs Schoombie, Deputy Principal Operations, kindly took the time to meet with one of the reporters from the school paper to discuss the current challenge.

1. What is the current development happening at the school?

We had to embark on an overhaul of the basketball, volleyball and netball courts.

2. Can you elaborate on the tree problem?

The trees near the courts are Blue Gum trees. They require a lot of water and have very strong roots. Due to the climate change that we are currently facing, the trees' need for water has increased. The roots started to go under the courts in search for water. There is a lot of clay around the school and clay provides wells for the trees’ water needs. This is why the courts began to crack.

Professionals advised that the school's water table should be higher once the courts are removed. The school has looked at other the places to move the courts but decided against that. The school will plant indigenous trees that are not detrimental to the soil and that can handle the climate change in South Africa, near the newly built courts.

3. Where will the students practise once the project begins?

The girls will be practicing at Tuks in term three. Buses will be transporting the students from PHSG to UP.

4. What is the timeline for this project?

The site handover happened on 27 May and the project will be completed in December 2019.

5. Will events at or near the Pavilion be affected by the construction?

Functions will not be affected. Areas will be properly blocked off to ensure that no one gets hurt or injured.