Then the ones who pleased the Lord will ask, "When did we give you something to eat or drink? When did we welcome you as a stranger or give you clothes to wear or visit you while you were sick or in jail?"
The King will answer, "Whenever you did it for any of my people, no matter how unimportant they seemed, you did it for me." .......Matthew 25

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A floating school? Is it possible? I need help!

There is no doubt the 'Fishing Village' needs a school. The question is how can we construct the school? As the land does not belong to the villages, it is not possible to construct a permanent stilted structure.

Located at the edge of shifting waters of the Ton Le Sap flood plains, the 'Fishing Village' moves with the availability of dry land. Any school will need to be able to move with them. The idea is to have it as floating classrooms so that it can be towed to the nearest location that is close to the community. The problem is that the depth of the waters in the flood plain is unpredictable. My guesstimate is that the deepest channel may not be more than 1-2 meters deep. Hence any floating structure cannot require too much of a depth clearance.

This concept of a floating school is quite different from others, in Siem Reap for example, where the waters are much deeper.

One model I have in mind is perhaps a floating pontoon of empty oil drums. This can be the base upon which a wooden 2 classroom structure can be built upon. Properly constructed, I think the oil drum pontoon should be able to bear the combined weight of the wooden classrooms, furniture, plus about 100 children.

Here is a diagram of such a platform. There are only 4 oil drums here, but theoretically we can construct a base of 500 oil drums beneath a 10 x 30 m platform. Since each empty oil drum has been estimated to be able to support a weight of about 175 kgs, theoretically the platform built upon 500 oil drums should be able to support 87.5 metric tons.

Is this enough? I really don't know. A hundred children each weighing an average of 30 kgs will contribute 3000 kgs, or only 3 metric tons. I don't know the weight estimate for 2 wooden classrooms.

Help!!! Is there an engineer who can help me figure this out?

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