Restoration advances after explosion at Saratoga hotel

HAVANA, June 1st  According to Granma newspaper, the Concepción Arenal elementary school, which was badly affected by the blast wave, should finish this week the work to restart classes, according to Orlando Vigil, head of the Havana Coordinating Group of the Ministry of Construction (Micons).

For her part, engineer Yohanna Aedo, director of Investments of the Office of the Historian of the City, reported that the damage to the National Capitol, the seat of the National Assembly of People’s Power, has been practically repaired.

Only minor works that do not hinder the daily activities of that institution remain, she added.

Aedo recalled that after the incident, one of the first actions of the Office in the emblematic Martí Theater was the cleaning of the rubble and the recovery of what could be reused, for which they dismantled the carpentry and classified the ironworks and gratings that had been removed.

She pointed out that together with the company Restaura, a diagnosis was made of the conditions of the building’s structure, whose damages were more serious than initially evidenced and which has required thorough work to replace numerously broken or missing wooden beams.

The official explained that in order to restore vitality to the Martí Theater, all the necessary resources are in place and all that remains is to review the security, lighting and sound systems, among other elements, with the purpose of reopening it next September.

The engineer also said that work is being done on the façade of the building that houses the Yoruba Cultural Association, and on the El Calvario Baptist Church, a heritage building that suffered major damage because it adjoins the Saratoga Hotel.

He added that later they will analyze what can be saved and the Office of the Historian will carry out the restoration of the Church and the two adjoining houses, which were also totally damaged.

Fundamental are the works in the two residential buildings affected by the explosion, of which the one at 609 Prado Street was evacuated, the belongings were handed over to its tenants and this week the shoring will begin in order to carry out studies with the objective of maintaining the same façade.

Meanwhile, the building at Zulueta 512 is in the process of demolition, which will take about two months, and the Office of the Historian will work on a proposal for new housing for that space and for the corner of Monte and Zulueta.