Anyone who has visited Louverture Cleary School (LCS) knows that the bridge connecting the Chapel and the large Agora classroom building is crucial to the flow of students between classrooms, dorms and other areas of the school. The bridge was built nearly a decade before the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010. It was deemed serviceable by experts and state authorities during their evaluation of the campus after the quake. However, like the buildings, it was also included in the seismic renovation plans developed to meet the possibility of an even stronger earthquake in the future.
This summer, The Haitian Project (THP) celebrates the completion of the bridge reconstruction because it marks the end of an eight-year process of seismic repairs and improvements!
The 2010 earthquake marked a difficult time in Haiti’s history and in THP’s history, too. However, once again, God provided THP the right person for the right job at exactly the right time…
Kurt Daviscourt is a regional manager at BELFOR, a global leader in disaster recovery and property restoration. With 8,700 employees in 31 countries, BELFOR is well equipped to respond effectively in any emergency. THP witnessed this firsthand when Daviscourt, a friend of THP President Deacon Patrick Moynihan, travelled to LCS after the earthquake and analyzed all the repairs and improvements necessary to keep LCS buildings and students safe. Brian Jones, a BEFLOR senior project manager, accompanied Daviscourt.
Together, Daviscourt and Jones were a welcome sight, not only lending their expertise on the LCS campus but also visiting LCS’ neighbors and the homes of LCS employees and their families, many of whom had been sleeping outdoors for fear of their homes collapsing.
When you show up in a desperate situation like that with a hard hat and a clipboard, people are very eager to hear what you have to say. It was a privilege to help dozens back into their homes, and show THP how they could fix homes in need of repair.
On campus, the plan of action developed by Daviscourt and Jones required pouring 54 shear walls. Generally, this involved placing two pairs of parallel single-pour, rebar-reinforced walls on each floor. The work was carefully scheduled and prioritized based on building use and strength. Buildings were completed by 2014, leaving the bridge for last.
Deacon Moynihan expressed his personal gratitude, noting:
Without the assistance of Kurt Daviscourt and his professional BELFOR team, we would have spent years and a lot of money trying to derive a plan to retrofit the campus for the new requirements created by the earthquake. Instead, we were able to get started immediately and operate safely in the interim. I could never say enough good things about Kurt, Brian and BELFOR.
In February of 2018, the existing bridge was knocked down to make way for a new and improved bridge. Construction began in late March and finished in early June. The graduating class of 2018 stayed on campus during graduation week to clean up and paint the school, including the rebuilt bridge. Their class name, “Transcendence,” fit the task of putting the finishing touches on the bridge—a physical sign of overcoming adversity.
This project also marks the first time that a member of THP’s junior staff took the lead on a campus building project. THP's Odson Francois took a leadership role as the project manager—a great experience for him personally and reason for the community to feel proud.
Like LCS itself, the rebuilt bridge stands because of many who responded generously with their talents: students, staff, volunteers, construction crews, architects, and THP’s friends at BELFOR. As THP plans to expand and create a network of schools throughout all of Haiti, the bridge is also a joyful reminder of the many hands that will help us get a good job done.