School village concept 'down to lawmakers'
A school 'village' planned for Diamond Hill is the result of pressure from legislators rather than a government initiative, a lawmaker has claimed.
Students from five schools to be built on the site of the demolished Po Kong village by May 2002 will share facilities, including a football field with spectator stand, athletics track, two basketball courts and a central car park.
However, the original Education Department plan had only four schools, of standard design, with independent campuses and no common area.
The fifth, the private International Christian Quality Music school, was not included on the blueprint submitted to the Legislative Council's subcommittee on public works last November.
The proposal was rejected by the subcommittee, which demanded a redesign of the schools to make better use of the 415,000 square feet of land, according to Cheung Man-kwong, a Democratic Party legislator.
'The department came to us with standard designs of all four [subsidised] schools,' said Mr Cheung, who represents teachers.
'The Democratic Party felt that it was not right since it was such a waste of land with an area in the middle being left out of the plan.
'The department had no intention of creating a school village in the first place.' The large-scale facilities in the common plan - absent from most schools - added $8 million to the total $362 million at current-day prices.
The public area can also be used for sports such as basketball and handball competitions, as well as social events such as fairs and concerts.
Legislator Raymond Ho Chung-tai, one of the subcommittee members, said the grouping of the schools into a single project was efficient.
'From both a development and resources allocation point of view, it is a better way to build the schools,' he said. 'It just makes much more sense.' A committee comprising representatives of the four subsidised schools will oversee management and maintenance of the common facilities.
A fully fledged campus, comprising four primary and two secondary schools, is due to be constructed in Cha Kwo Ling by 2007.