Students of NP Boys’ Senior Secondary School, near Mandir Marg, are a happy lot. Their 80-year-old school building, which had started showing its age, is now looking as good as new.
This heritage building has become the first school building in the city to be conserved by a civic agency. It is also the first instance of New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) conserving a building in use.
“The exterior landscape of the building was in a terrible state. Under phase I of the project, improvement of the façade was carried out. We were quite lucky in finding a full set of drawings of the school in the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) Archive. All the details of the building, including the design of the paving, were found,” said Abha Narain Lamba, Mumbai-based conservation architect, who is a consultant on the project.
Lamba said that in the original drawing by architect Russel, a drinking fountain water was sanctioned but not constructed. “We added that little bit to the restoration project.”
In the 1970s, a new floor was also added to the building but its design was not in sync with the rest of the building. It has been restored accordingly. Its mild steel windows have been replaced with wooden ones.
“A number of alterations were made to the building, such as installation of water pipes. The paving had also been changed.
The steps had broken down. We have used a mixture of sandstone and granite flooring for the building. The frontage, including the courtyard, has been restored. The honour roll of the school will also be replaced, so that it resembles the one which hung there in the old days,” said a senior NDMC official.
The façade has been restored and landscaping has been carried out under phase I of the project at a cost of Rs 7 crore.
Under phase II, which starts in December, the interior of the buildings will be restored at a cost of Rs 7.06 crore.
“We plan to construct an interpretation room in the assembly hall, where students will be familiarised with the school’s history,” said Lamba.