Irina Savina, Deputy Mayor of the Sofia Municipality for Investments and Construction, in an interview for Focus News Agency.
Focus: Ms Savina, you just made an inspection of the construction of the new part of kindergarten 171 in the Nadezhda residential district. Could you, please, give us more information about the object? How many groups will it be able to host? When do you expect the construction to be finalised?
Irina Savina: The construction object, which we inspected today together with Dimitar Dimov – District Mayor for Nadezhda, is actually an extension to the already-existing kindergarten. In 2011 we insulated the building – we changed the window and door frames, applied thermal insulation systems on the outside walls and the roof, repaired the electricity installations and the internal heating installations, and then we started the construction of the new building, which will have two storeys and will host four groups of children. The ground floor will have two nursery groups, a gym for physical education and musical education, administrative and medical rooms, while the second floor will have two kindergarten groups. The old and new buildings will be connected, which will allow easier access to the kitchen block. As we saw during our inspection, all activities are going according to schedule – the rough construction is over, and now the flooring is being installed, along with other construction works. The external connections to the electricity and water and sewerage installations are yet to be done, as well as vertical planning, greening, and children’s playgrounds. We expect the extension to the kindergarten to be ready by the middle of September and to be able to host children in the beginning of the new school year.
Focus: Did you find anything worrying during the inspection?
Irina Savina: No, we did not. According to the construction supervision evaluation, all activities are being done with accordance to the approved investment projects and the permission for construction. I am glad, as I see that the staff of the kindergarten is also taking part in the working process. Ms Rusinova - Director of kindergarten 171, said that there was very good communication between her and the construction company and also perfect coordination – with regards to colouring, design, arrangement, and etc. This is very positive, as the staff of the kindergarten and the children will be the ones using the new building. It is important for them to have a comforting and cosy environment, which will correspond to their needs.
Focus: This is one of the new kindergartens that are planned to be open this year. Will you tell us which the other ones are?
Irina Savina: We plan to open seven new kindergartens in 2012, which will host a total of 26 groups. Two of them were already opened – one in the village of Voluyak, and one in Lyulin residential district. We are to open the other five – in the village of Dolni Bogrov, in Darvenitsa, Oborishte, Ilinden, and Nadezhda residential districts. By the end of the year we will start the construction of five more kindergartens, which will host 21 groups.
Focus: What about the rehabilitation and modernisation of existing kindergartens and schools? Did the programme for rehabilitation and modernizations of the Sofia Municipality change in any way after the strong earthquake last month?
Irina Savina: We will continue the modernisation of the educational infrastructure in 2012. More than BGN 16 million has been earmarked for rehabilitation – thermal insulation of roofs, floors, and external walls, changing installations and window and door frames, and etc. The funds are provided from the budget of the Sofia Municipality, the National Trust EcoFund, and OP Regional Development. We will be able to modernise a total of 59 schools and kindergartens, 27 of which (18 schools and 9 kindergartens) will have fulfilled all measures for energy efficiency. The programme for rehabilitation and modernisation of educational infrastructure in 2012 was changed this week, after we evaluated the effects from the May 22 earthquake. We updated the programme in order to be able to include 8 more schools and kindergartens in it, which need urgent reconstruction works after the earthquake.
In the meantime, we are continuing to look for other sources of financing, like Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund and different national programmes, in order to be able to modernise more buildings in shorter periods of time. This will lead to a considerable downturn of our consumption of electricity and heating energy, and from the saved resources we will be able to invest in order activities, like scheduled maintenance works.