The article has been updated to include comments from architect Yanica Zammit and highlight the fact that the project was led by MADE Studio.
The architect who signed off on the plans for the primary school in Msida that the Foundation for Tomorrow’s Schools (FTS) has ordered to be partially demolished is a member of the evaluation committee of the same Foundation.
In May, The Shift reported that the school, originally scheduled to be finished three years ago, was not only delayed but also needed additional funding due to structural issues stemming from the project’s design.
The FTS submitted two planning applications – the plans for the design of the school, submitted in 2019, and the demolition works that occurred in 2018 to clear the way for it. MADE Studio was the studio contracted for the demolition works that were carried out and for the school’s reconstruction.
Sources familiar with both Zammit and MADE Studio confirmed that during 2018 – 2019, when both applications were filed, Zammit was an employee at the studio. While Zammit signed off on the documents that were submitted to the Planning Authority, MADE Studio was contracted to oversee the works.
She was on the Foundation’s evaluation committee to assess the overall feasibility of construction projects falling under the Foundation’s remit.
Yanica Zammit is the architect on the FTS’s evaluation committee, and her name is on documents submitted to the Planning Authority when plans for the school were submitted. The contractors who built the original design were C&F Building Contractors Ltd.
The Msida primary school project was announced in 2017 when the original building was demolished and set to be replaced. The new plans were supposed to lead to a school that would house 500 students. Instead, the school has been closed for five years.
Msida’s primary school, which the government promised would be finished by 2019, needed more funding to make up for severe issues flagged.
Today, the school is being demolished again, with another architecture firm TBA Periti brought in to assess the situation and provide advice on resolving the structural deficiencies flagged by the FTS in its announcement.
In June, The Shift reported how insider sources from FTS described the foundation’s working environment as “toxic” and subject to political favouritism at the hands of its CEO, Neville Young. Young did not respond to questions on any matter, including questions about the Msida primary school project.
The Shift’s sources described how the Msida primary school project had gone over budget by May. The school in Msida is not the only issue. Another primary school in Qawra is facing similar problems.
The Qawra school project was completed three years late and €13 million over budget. Yet until February, despite being open for two years, the school was not certified as compliant.
During its construction phase, a 23-year-old man working for GP Borg Group, the contractor in charge of the project, died in an accident. The outcome of the investigation is unknown.
Following the publication of the story, Yanica Zammit sent in the following comment:
“My involvement in the mentioned project was limited to the initial design stage in 2018. In fact, my involvement in the project was over by the time the approval of the development permit was issued by the Planning Authority in 2019. No works were carried out by myself in the structural design or implementation of the project. As is the practice with such projects, structural works and implementation were awarded to a separate outsourced architect. I am still, to this day, gainfully employed with FTS since I have had no association with this project post initial design of the project, and prior to the actual approval of the development permit on 2 May 2019.”
The Shift is following up on investigations to find out which architects the FTS chose when outsourcing the work.