July 13, 2018 03:15 AM NPT
By: DIYA DHAKAL
KATHMANDU, July 13: Three years after the April 2015 earthquakes, the government has started tearing down the quake-damaged historic Durbar High School for the purpose of reconstruction.
Durbar High School was the first modern school of the country, built during the Rana era, originally to serve the children of the royal family. The quake had damaged the school building beyond repair. The building had developed many cracks and fissures in the earthquakes.
The school will be rebuilt with the assistance from the Chinese government. Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) has already put forward a blueprint of the new structure, but the Society of Nepali Architects (SONA) has objected to proposed blueprint.
Sudip Sharma Paudel, general secretary of SONA said the Nepal Reconstruction Authority and the District Education Office did not consult them while making the blueprint. SONA wants the new structure to be identical to the old one. They are willing to compromise on the size of the building as long as the neoclassical designs are retained and a “modern look” isn't incorporated. However, their demand has been ignored with the Chinese government's proposal to use modern construction materials to construct a four-story building instead of the three-story one has been approved by the authorities. “As long as the bureaucrats think that only foreigners can rebuild our nation, there is no hope of preserving our architecture,” Paudel said.Dilip Shrestha of the Ministry of Education said that a bilateral agreement between Nepal government and China for the construction has been finalized. He said that there will be some differences in the design so as to accommodate more students at the school building. Also, the new building should accommodate computer labs are libraries. He said that earthquake safety is their topmost priority and the architectural aspects are secondary. “The design is compliant with the National Building Code and construction work will finish within twenty months,” Shrestha informed.
Sambhavi Tripathi (33), a local of Kathmandu city, hopes that the new construction will retain the neo-architectural design of the Rana-era school.
Durbar High School was opened in 1892 by the then Prime Minister Janga Bahadur Rana.