“Sami Frashëri” high school in Tirana, with a capacity of 1700 students, has been demolished since April. Considering the promise of the Mayor of Tirana, the reconstruction works should have commenced for the high school to be operable by September of next year. Based on the on-site visit by “Faktoje”, it results that the works have not commenced, and the debris is yet to be removed. The high school building had been reconstructed nearly one and a half year prior to the earthquake of 26 November, in the framework of a project that cost USD 80 thousand.

At the end of June, the Mayor of Tirana, Erion Veliaj stated that the reconstruction works for “Sami Frashëri” high school would commence within summer.

On 17 July, “Faktoje” submitted a request for information to Tirana Municipality inquiring whether the reconstruction works for “Sami Frashëri” high school had commenced, and what would be the project value and duration of works.

The information request addressed to Tirana Municipality

Tirana Municipality replied on 28 July as follows:

Pursuant to DCM No. 354, dated 11.05.2016, “On approving the territory planning, design, oversight, and commissioning services fee manual”, the project design for the first three stages is complete. The school project value is ALL 3.609.225, which can be found on the PPA website, and the project also includes a works schedule for a 7-month term from the commencement date.

Tirana Municipality’s reply

Since April, “Faktoje” has paid several on-site visits, when the building damaged by the earthquake of 26 November was demolished.

On 2 September, when Veliaj’s promised timeframe was already past due, “Faktoje” found that the debris still remained on the site where the works would have been carried out. The only work performed on-site was done by those looking to find scrap metal to sell.

I am trying to find any scrap metal from the demolition of this building so that I can sell it. I have entered without permission because the door was opened – said a man found rummaging through the “Sami Frashëri” debris.

Photo of the “Sami Frashëri” high school debris, 2 September 2020

Photo of the “Sami Frashëri” high school debris, 2 September 2020

We visited the site on 9 September as well, precisely on this article’s publication date, in order to check whether the reconstruction works had commenced, but nothing had changed.

Photo of the “Sami Frashëri” high school debris, 9 September 2020

Photo of the “Sami Frashëri” high school debris, 9 September 2020

With only a few days left from the start of the new school year, Mayor Veliaj stated that the 1700 students and teaching staff of “Sami Frashëri” would be transferred to “Çajupi” high school, where the teaching process would have to be conducted in shifts, in part due to the pandemic, as well.

When was the “Sami Frashëri” high school last reconstructed?

“Sami Frashëri” high school, which was founded in the ‘60s, was last reconstructed in July of 2018 in the framework of a project sponsored by the “Philip Morris” company, in the amount of USD 80 thousand. However, when the first earthquake of 21 September 2019 hit, there was damage found in the indoor premises of the school. After the earthquake of 26 November, further serious damage was reported, which led to the building’s demolition, despite it not being included in the list of schools scheduled for demolition.