Colegio Héctor Abad Gómez
Día 33 | 2 de Octubre
This afternoon I ventured to the near-eastside barrio of Las Palmas to visit Colegio Héctor Abad Gómez. The Colegio is one of the newest to be built in the city, being completed only 6 months prior in March. Along with the School came improvements to the surrounding neighborhood; circulation in and around the site, play courts, recreational amenities and roadway improvements that all work in tandem to revitalize this area of Las Palmas in the hopes that it will serve as the community’s gathering point. Prior to the opening of the Colegio, the residents who lived near the city center didn’t have a school option close by for their children. This much needed school also serves a dual function of serving as a community center.
What the Colegio lacks in size relative to other new Colegio’s is made up by its variability, being able to conduct numerous programs at different levels. The programmatic notion of leveling most likely infers to the area’s terrain which is sloping in nature; the barrio of Las Palmas rest the city’s eastern hillsides; The building does an amazing job responding to the terrain which meets the building at different levels in the front and back. The day that I visited, The city was sponsoring dental checkups and cleanings on the main floor while also sponsoring a late afternoon information session for the neighborhood residents were taking place on the 3rd floor. While on the main floor I interviewed Maria Consuelo Castalle who lives in the neighboring barrio of San Diego.
Over the course of our conversation Maria explained to me that the programs being offered by the city fill much needed gaps in health and human service for the area and it’s residents. Most who live here cannot afford to regularly see a doctor or dentist and so the programs being offered to the community have an immeasurable payback effect for the city (keeping citizens healthy so that they can be productive). While today residents waited to have their teeth cleaned they also had an opportunity to learn about the other programs being offered for free (computer classes, small business workshops, etc.) lending to the continued use of the building for the day and in the future.
below, a few pictures from the day…