With the expansion and growth of the College’s learner programmes and service delivery, Phase II of the College’s infrastructure development commenced in 2015. The main purpose of the Phase II infrastructure development is to increase the training capacity of the SAWC, including the provision of staff housing and offices, while ensuring the greening of the College and an overall reduction of maintenance requirements of the SAWC.
This followed the signing of the finance agreements for the generous grant received from the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation (BMZ) through the German corporation Kreditsanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW). The initial construction of the College was also made possible by BMZ via KfW facilitated by WWF South Africa.
As part of the Phase II Project, 2016 saw a handover to Project Manager, Rory Allardice supported by Sharon Humphries as his PA and Compliance Officer. This essentially separated the College’s operational and maintenance requirements from infrastructure development, albeit that the roles are mutually supportive. Key staff turnover during a project is always difficult, but the College mitigated these changes by sagacity in anticipation. The appointment of an experienced compliance officer also brought the project, and the SAWC as a whole, firmly in line with legal, safety and environmental compliance requirements. Following the resignation of Andre Cornelius, Executive Manager Operations with effect 1 November 2016, the maintenance role was taken over by Kobus du Plessis.
Waste water and effluent treatment and the supply of fresh water still remained the priority activity: Infrastructure for the treatment of waste water has achieved a stable situation with plans to treat the waste water to a state where it can be used for irrigation have been set in place. The Phase II team continue to strive towards better waste water treatment.
The projects being tackled are both environmentally friendly and innovative. Old technologies using modern materials and techniques are being used to keep the buildings cool in summer and warm in winter. The lab and higher education offices will be a state of the art building when completed with impressive rammed earth walls and high wooden ceilings. Air flow is guided through the building with vents in strategic places.
The new Sustainable Use and Field Guiding lecture block when completed will include a loading room, lecture room and an office, as well as a cistern has uniquely been built underneath it. This will not only trap rain water to supplement the College’s water supply but will also act as the source of water for evaporative cooling. Air is channelled over the water in the cistern, cooling it and thereafter pumping it through ducting in the building using the roof space as a source of energy to act as a heat pump. The new general purpose lecture room cum conferencing hall is being built using a Lego-type interlocking hollow block. In this building too an evaporative cooling system using charcoal will be introduced.
On completion of the project, the entire campus will also be game fenced with electric fencing to the standard required by the Kruger National Park. The old walkway between reception and the resource centre will be converted into offices and will include ablution facilities and a seminar room. One of the most important innovations, which will result from the Phase II development, is the replacement of the thatch roofs with a product called Harvey Tile. This is basically a metal tile coated with gravel to give it a very neat and natural look. Introducing Harvey Tile will substantially reduce insurance premiums on the College buildingss, which will virtually eliminate the constant maintenance that thatch demands.
Developments at the Field Ranger’s Training camp are complete with the two lecture halls becoming functional. Other areas completed included the staff houses. The six new single quarters, which replace the old VIP units, will be built to a high standard.
Training contractors in new and innovative building methods has been very rewarding because of the way they have grasped the opportunity to learn new techniques. As part of the Phase II Project the College has engaged with 11 villages under Chief Mnisi. To fairly appoint subcontractors representing all the communities, a community committee was elected by community members. Criteria was set to enable community members to benefit from the subcontracted services required which further resulted in the employment of skilled and semi skilled labourers from the communities.