Calve College Govt. Higher Sec. School, Puducherry - heritage structure is on restoration

Calve College govt. high school  Puducherry 

The Union territory of Puducherry has innumerable heritage buildings of  French architectural splendor and beauty taking us back to the old colonial French rule. You never fail to notice the blend of French and the local style in the buildings and no doubt they stand apart from English styled buildings in other parts of south India. The union government is embarking on a restoration project to conserve many  old structures  in the Puducherry region for the posterity. Because of funds crunch, work is moving slowly, but they keep moving forward. 

Three beautiful heritage  buildings out of which the  government schools functioned for a long time  had  turned into a shambles due to official apathy. This  total negligence  made them into  eyesores in the city, a blot on the cityscape. Among them  the Calve College  Govt. High School building, an  A Grade II  heritage monument, needs serious attention just like  V.O. Chidambaram Government Higher Secondary School and the Pensionnate De Jeunes Filles (Government Girls French High School. The latter two also need immediate attention.

Heritage enthusiasts  are happy that two of those  buildings in the Union Territory of Puducherry are undergoing restoration work under the aegis of  Puducherry Smart City Development Limited (PSCDL). These  Projects taken up  under the guidance of  The Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) are on the move and are in different stages of progress. INTACH is a pioneering heritage building restoration Agency and they are particular about quality of  work  and will never  compromise on  old heritage values and features. Pondicherry Engineering College is the structural consultant to the project.  A sum of Rs.7.6 is allocated for the school projects

Calve College Govt. HS school Puducherry

Calve College govt. high school Puducherry

Calve College govt. high. school Puducherry

Calve College govt. high. school Puducherry 

Above images:  Calve College Government High. School (on  Mission St, Main Road, Heritage Town), Puducherry. 
This  two-story structure, built in 1886 (1875?) gets its name from Calve Soupraya Chettiar (Kalavai Subburaya Chettiyar), a well-known merchant.  It catered to the educational needs of the local  Hindu and Muslim children. The benefactor's  family’s roots are in Kalavai, a village near Vellore. Later from 1877 to 1880, it was run by members of a congregation. An English section was introduced in  1880 and after 1885, it  became  an upper primary school and admission was  open to children of all castes and no caste differences. It still continues French education for a small group.

The architectural design of this  school is a blend of colonial and native style with Madras terraced ceiling (common in the 19th century CE) supported by wooden rafters .In the fa├žade there is a series of arcaded corridors with  a central colonnaded porch and a pediment atop the main entrance of the building imparting European style.  The spacious classrooms built around a large U-shaped courtyard with colonnaded verandas with high celling and numerous tall windows would keep the interior cool during hot season.  The first floor too has a spacious verandah all around and the tiled sloping roof  extends beyond the outer wall to drain out rain water. The entire wooden frame work beams, rafters, etc., support the Mangalore tiled roof. ’Thane’ cyclone of 2011 did not spare the building, a legacy of the French,  and caused damages. particularly on the first floor. Restoration work will take care of plastering of ceiling and walls, replacement of the wooden rafters and beams and removal of vegetation growth.

Calve College govt. high. school Puducherry 

Calve College govt. high. school Puducherry

These two heritage buildings lay unused for more than four years as the condition was unsafe the schools were shifted to other government sites temporarily in 2014. The project involves   conservation, restoration and redevelopment of Calve College Heritage School building and restoration of VOC Heritage School as both are landmark places in the city. The contractors have to complete the work within a stipulated period so that buildings will be ready before the beginning of the new academic year. 

part of former French colony, Puducherry,

The V.O.C. School, earlier known as Ecole Primare, was also built in 1886. It followed the French system of education until 1960 when the medium of instruction changed from French to Tamil.