H.Yener GÜR'EŞ Project Manager

It was May 3, 2003. Another earthquake occurred in our country, Turkey, which 15 located on an seismic zone: Bingöl was shaken, houses and schools were collapsed Losses of lots of kids in a student house, which was not resistant against earthquake, caused to mourn not only in Turkey but also through out the world.

Following this earthquake, Prof. Dr. Nesrin Yardımcı, President of Turkish Constructional Steelwork Association (TUCSA), made two presentations in European Convention for Constructional Steelwork (ECCS) about "Bingöl Earthquake" and "Earthquake Possibilities in Turkey". At the end of these presentations members of ECCS has said, "No more death for students must happen due to improper buildings around the world, and especially in countries located on seismic zones" and decided to construct a model school with steel structure in Turkey. This school would be constructed as a joint project of TUCSA and ECCS with the contributions of ECCS member companies such as Arcelor (Luxembourg) and Corus (England). For this purpose, Governorship of Kocaeli has assigned the land and the protocol was signed on April 28, 2005 Our architectural design had been prepared in advance and was approved by ECCS. We have aimed to complete and deliver Tevfik Seno Arda High School to the Ministry of National Education by September 12. 2005 in order to make it ready for 2005-2006 educational year if our project approvals would have been sought until the end of May according to the talks during the signature of protocol However, the bureaucratic legislations, even if this project would be a donation, never left the project alone.

Orhangazi Primary School, which was built in 1920s but could not resist to the earthquake of 1999 and collapsed. The land of the collapsed school was assigned for our project. It is in the location, namely Orhan Mahallesi, where relatively low income people of İzmit are living. We were very pleased with the selection of this land mainly because of three reasons: so we would be able to serve to the people that really need such a service and it would be a challenge to erect a school on the land of the seriously damaged school in the earthquake. Regarding the school which would be constructed far from main roads. I want to explain the third reason of our happiness with this maxim "Aid neither must make the donor haughty, nor the receiver asharned".

On the other hand, since the land assigned us to construct the Tevfik Seno Arda High School on the land of the collapsed Orhangazi Primary School, was staying in an archeological site. It was anather exiting and very different experience for us.

Initially we had to put a relatively large school with 15 classrooms and 4 laboratories on a small land. Distances to be left from edges of the land, transformer building within the school's land, gardens of the buildings on the east side exceeding into the school's land, having a land not in a rectangular shape were the initial challenges that we faced in terms of architectural layout. But then we have realised that these were nothing...

At first we did not design any basement floor in order to prepare a plan suitable for our budget and not to have an improper symmetry in case of any earthquake. But then, we were required to modify the project since the school land was on an inclined area, there were holes and ruins of the basement of the previous school, and the authorities of the municipality have said that they want the foundations to be sat on a solid ground instead of the compressed soil under control. The result was adding a basement, wasting time, and additional costs. Anyway, we had succeeded and we were happy for our success.

Then we found ourselves in an adventure of archeological site zone. The drawings have stayed in the Board of Monuments for more than two months. ECCS, after various works, had found aesthetical features on the school's façade showing the advantages of the steel as shown on the websites of ECCS (HYPERLINK "" www.steelconstruct.coml) and Turkish Constructional Steelwork Association (HYPERLINK "" www.tucsaorg), and had agreed with the design. However, the school building façade prescribed in the original design was not accepted by the Board since "it is not in harmony with the historical texture of the area and the architecture of the city of İzmit" and we were requested to make alternative drawings. Then, of course, we had several questions in our minds.

First question: While the only ruin around us was a tower of 8 meters height and 6 meters diameter, howwe would adapt ourselves to the historical land scape? Second question: I would not make a comment about the environmental architecture, but i cannot get myself without asking the following question; Does İzmit have a characteristic architecture, as ones in Bodrum, Safranbolu, and others?

Third question: If there are any hesitations on the above questions, the following question comes to our minds: "Are they requesting a prison like building instead of modern steel display since they cannot appropriate the philosophy of steel constructioris?" We then have started to wait leaving the interpretation to the authorized persons. All our aim was to complete and deliver the school as soon as possible. Then finally a new traditional school building façade design with small glasses, relatively hiding the steel structure of the building, was approved by the Board of Monuments on July 28. I hope one dayall of you would come and see the harmony of buildings in this site... We are grateful for the personal efforts of Mr. Erdal Ata, Governor of Kocaeli, during this period as well.

Development of the steel in the world is not a competition but an inevitable fact due to various features of steel such as its environmental features, resistance against seismic effects, flexibility in design and utilization, and its speed and economy. Steel constructions could not be understood well in Turkeyand people could not find themselves familiar with steel yet. However, we would certainly see also in our country like in Japan or USA, which are also located on seismic zones, that steel constructions would be preferred for schools, public buildings, hospitals and residents.

Of course these were not the end. Now there is ariother challenge in custom procedure of the materials donated by the companies Arcelor and Corus sent from Luxembourg and England respectively. Since theywere not included into the free importation list of donated materials, which was prepared alter the earthquake of 1999, it was another story to import the incoming steel profiles and trapezoid sheets ldeckinql to be placed under the composite floor. It would be certainly correct if we say that there was almost no relevant door in Ankara that we have not knocked in June. During these visits, everybody said that we were right but our problem was unforturiately not within their scope. I guess because of lack of our experience, we could never manage to find the correct person We came back to Kocaeli and presented our results. The Governor, and Mr. Metin Yah•, Vice-Governor (currently General Secretary) had personally paid attention to every stage of the project. They have sent a letter to Ankara and made phone conversations. While we were thinking that everything is completed, donated goods have begun to arrive at the customs. Then we noticed that we have not received any reply from Ankara yet. But later we learned that we do not need to request the opinion of Ankara... While we were writing our feelings here we reached October. I hope we would start to use the materials that we have received while you were reading this article.

One of our main objectives was to have donations from as much people as possible instead of only from a couple of sponsor companies in order to finance construction, in to ensure that everybody could be involved into this project. But challenges of collecting donations were another experience. Even they were a few, we had encountered with people having interesting reactions, such as those do not want to donate before seeing the foundation, those wishing not to involve in the project since they cannot foresee the contribution of this event to the sector, those aiming to free ride... And there were people who were feeling embarrassed since they could not make any donation due to their financial problems but I hope we did not cause any problem to such kind of people. Anyway, it is not easy to collect donations. But at the end i would like to reiterate our cordial thanks to all companies, organizations, and people that had made donations and ones who supported our project sincerely although they were not able to make any donation.

Please, do not think that we were bored since we are telling all of these events to you. You are filled with a pleasure that cannot be defined with rising of each centimeter of the school construction. Most of us watched the erection of the first column of three floors height with an excitement and may not be stopping our tears during the Column Erection Ceremony organized on September 14 with the participations of Mr. Allan Collins, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ECCS and Mr. Bruno Theret. vice-President of Arcelor. Otherwise, do you think that it is possible to do this work?

ECCS is also sharing our feelings. When we presented the Column Erection Ceremony and the last status of the school project during the General Assembly meeting held on September 22. 2005, Thursday in Nice/France, they have shared our excitement, the challenges we faced, and our happiness... Furthermore, they agreed to hold the Meeting of the Board of Directors to be organized in April 2006 in Istanbul instead of Brussels, just in order to come and see the biggest project of ECCS within the last 50 years. So, the completion date of the school construction works were delayed a lot in comparison with our planned date due to reasons beyond our control. Now, we are aiming to complete the works until February 2006.

As a conclusion, we believe that seismic resistant constructions can be made only with the combination of intelligence and prudence, and harmonization of science and implementation. Turkish Constructional Steel Association is ready to do its liabilities in this area any time it is required. Our association would be pleased to share its knowledge and experience with each authority within the state and to collaborate with local administration. Also there are so many things to do in our country and therefore we believe that collaboration of non- governmental organizations and industries would increase the momentum of our country on its path towards the catching up the most developed civilizations.

I wish well-beings to all of you with the hope that the days when we really desire the buildings in which our children and us would liye in safe even during an earthquake in the future.

As a conclusion, we balieve that cnstructions resistant to earthquakes can be made only with the combination of intelligence and prudence with science and implementation. Turkish Constructional Steelwork Association is ready to do its liabilities in this area as possible as it can. Our association would be plased to share its knowledge and experience with each within the state and to collaborate with local administration of non-governmental organizations and industries would increase the momentium of our country on its path towards developed civilizations. I wissh well-beings to all of you with the hope that the days that we really desire during which our children and us would live i the buildings that would not collapse during ana earthquake would come.
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