P200M Phil. Science High School campus to rise in Koronadal

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/21 June) – The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is investing around P200 million for the development of the new regional campus of the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) in this city.

Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo disclosed such investment as he led the formal launching and groundbreaking on Thursday of the 4.5-hectare PSHS Soccsksargen campus within the DOST regional complex in Barangay Paraiso here.

“We’re building a unique campus here – one that will feature the most modern and complete facilities and will have best design in terms of building architecture. We’ll make it a smart campus, one that will really stand out,” Montejo said in a press conference.

He said the ground works for the initial buildings and facilities of the new PSHS campus will immediately begin to facilitate their completion before its targeted opening in June 2013.

The provincial government earlier spent some P7.3 million for the acquisition of the school’s site in Barangay Paraiso here.

The 4.5-hectare lot, which is located near the site of the state-of-the-art Philippine National Halal Laboratory and Science Center of DOST-12, was the provincial government’s counterpart to the project based on an agreement with the DOST.

Dr. Josette Biyo, PSHS system director, said the new regional campus will mainly feature modern academic buildings, complete research and laboratory facilities as well as dormitories or housing facilities.

She said they will also establish alternative learning centers within the campus to cater to the needs of “gifted students” from the area. Citing the project’s development plan, Biyo said the construction of the academic buildings and other campus facilities will be done in several phases and on progressive basis.

She said the construction of the campus’s initial academic buildings will be funded by the provincial government of South Cotabato, which initially pledged P5 million for the project.

Rep. Carol Jayne Lopez of the Youth Against Corruption and Poverty or YACAP party-list group had pledged an augmentation fund of P5 million through the provincial government.

During the press conference here this afternoon, Rep. Angelo Palmones of AGHAM partylist pledged an additional P2 million for the project through his Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF.

The DOST central office and the PSHS board earlier approved the establishment of a PSHS campus in Koronadal City as part of its expansion program in Region 12.

Region 12 covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.

Once completed the PSHS campus here will be the country’s ninth and the third in Mindanao.

The PSHS, which operates as an attached agency of the DOST, is a specialized public high school system that focuses on high quality science-based education and training.

The PSHS system, which was initially patterned after the Bronx High School of Science in New York City, was established by the government “for the purpose of giving an education highly enriched in science and mathematics to exceptionally gifted Filipino children,” its website said.

Biyo said they will begin the selection and screening process for the first 90 scholars of the PSHS Soccsargen campus following the qualifying examination slated in September. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)