Intel puts up tech-reinforced school buildings in Yolanda-hit Leyte town

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In what could be a first undertaking of such kind for the company, chipmaker Intel has inaugurated four disaster-resilient and digitally equipped school buildings in the coastal town of Tanauan in Leyte to replace old structures obliterated by Typhoon Yolanda.

The four school buildings, which can stand storms with winds of 250 KPH and Intensity 7 earthquakes, house a total of 10 classrooms.
The four school buildings, which can stand storms with winds of 250 KPH and Intensity 7 earthquakes, house a total of 10 classrooms.

Top executives from Intel Philippines and its partners, as well as school and local officials, attended the turnover ceremonies at the Sto. Nino Elementary School on June 1, Monday.

The newly built school buildings were financed by a $375,000 (P15.6 million) grant from Intel and its employees who pooled their contributions in the aftermath of the disaster that wiped out the Eastern Visayas region in November 2013.

Santa Clara, California-based Intel worked with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) to put up the buildings that house a total of ten classrooms.

The structures, which were turned over to school officials in time for the opening of classes on June 1, are powered by solar equipment donated by Australian firm Optimus Energy.

Instead of iron roofs, the buildings also have roof tops which can serve as evacuation areas in times of disaster.

The four buildings were also designed in such a way that they no longer face the ocean and are parallel to each other to allow the sea wind to pass through the spaces between them.

?One and a half years since Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) struck the country in November 2013, we are honored to make this contribution to build a better Sto. Ni?o Elementary School for the children in Tanauan,? said Intel Philippines country manager Calum Chisholm.

The reconstructed buildings will be able to withstand typhoons with winds of up to 250 KPH, 25-percent more than the industry standard of 200 KPH, and up to three hours of fire compared to the conventional one hour.

The new Sto. Ni?o Elementary School also features structurally sound foundations for the benefit of over 500 students in the elementary level.

Moreover, it was built one meter above the original ground line to boost its resilience against seismic events, typhoons, and flooding.

Alongside the rebuilding of the school, Intel provided ruggedized laptops, 2-in-1 laptop/tablet devices and a content access point for the teachers and the students.

This contribution, together with training programs for students and teachers, ensures a holistic approach that goes beyond school rebuilding, according to Intel.

Intel also sent members of the employee volunteers from abroad to provide on-site ICT skills training to the teachers and students during the summer.

?Intel?s support since the start of the rebuilding initiative provided an opportunity for the children of Tanauan to enjoy a better Sto. Ni?o. The classrooms and the ICT equipment provided by Intel have changed the students? learning environment and will open more opportunities for them in the future,? said Sto. Ni?o Elementary School principal Marlon Tangpuz.

The rebuilding effort also falls under the DigiBayanihan initiative which Intel pioneered together with the NGO sector and government. DigiBayanihan is a national volunteer movement and advocacy that aims to enable citizens to get access to digital skills and devices.

?The rebuilding of Sto. Ni?o Elementary School is just one of the steps in ensuring a digitally-inclusive country. Soon, we?ll be rolling out more projects similar to Sto. Ni?o to further magnify the reach of the DigiBayanihan initiative and augment Intel?s efforts to promote digital literacy in the Philippines,? said Chisholm.

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