The Milosav Stiković primary school in the Prijepolje settlement of Kolovrat was opened back in 1973. Generations of its pupils took part in various competitions and achieved great sports results even when the conditions in the school gym were not adequate. The gym was used for almost half a century with no investments made so it was in dire need of reconstruction and new equipment. Thanks to a donation from the European Union (EU) allocated through the EU PRO development programme and in cooperation with the local self-government, over 500 pupils in Prijepolje now have a fully refurbished and equipped sports hall where they can engage in sports activities.
The floors, façade, water spouts and even the locker rooms of the sports hall in the Milosav Stiković primary school gym were visibly damaged. It was in such a poor state of repair that the children and teachers exercising and training in it feared for their own safety. But there was no money for reconstructing the gym.
“The gym hall is on the school grounds and physical education classes of over 500 Prijepolje pupils take place there. Our school is one of the larger ones in the area. We have a long tradition and we are the only multi-ethnic school in our municipality (we have Serbian, Bosniak and Roma pupils,” says Tanja Tripković, the school Principal, and adds: “The hall has been used extensively for years, both for P.E. classes and other sports activities, such as tournaments and competitions. It started decaying over time, since no investments were made in it for fifty years. The roof was in a very poor state of repair, the insulation was bad, so the gym was extremely cold in winter and was barely usable. Some of the windows were even broken so that holding class and training in it became dangerous.“
The reconstruction of the hall was inevitable but there was no money. This prompted the local self-government to apply to EU PRO’s Call for Proposals and win an EU grant to help it refurbish the hall. “The works began in 2019 and were completed last year. In addition to the façade, walls, water spouts and plumbing, they also included the refurbishment of the hall itself. The flooring was changed, the walls were painted and the hall was equipped in accordance with the latest standards: the ceilings are insulated and all the lighting was changed so that we are now saving a lot of energy,” says Svetlana Slović, an adviser in the Prijepolje Municipality Economy and Local Economic Development Department, adding: “Thanks to this donation, the pupils of the Milosav Stiković primary school have a fully renovated and equipped sports hall. All the material and technical conditions are finally in place for their safe participation in school and extracurricular activities.”
The total value of the project amounts to over 110,000 Euros, out of which the EU invested 56,772 Euros in the reconstruction of the hall, while the rest was covered by the local self-government.
“Our municipality has had a working group tasked with improving good governance at the local level for several years now. Within the good governance activities implemented in cooperation with the Swiss PRO Programme, funded by the Government of Switzerland, this working group has actively participated in developing a rulebook on the use of the sports hall in cooperation with a team of experts. We will continue with our efforts to improve the lives of citizens and ensure that social accountability becomes one of the main elements of our activities, guiding us in taking the right decisions and implementing various activities,” Svetlana Slović concludes.
The hall is now used at full capacity. “Our female basketball team has been scoring excellent results for years now. Our girls are really outstanding. Our track athletes have also excelled at state competitions and our male basketball team made it to the inter-district play-offs,” Principal Tanja Tripković proudly says, emphasising: “The children excelled even before the hall was refurbished. I hope their enthusiasm will persist and that the gym will inspire them to new heights.”
The reconstruction of the sports hall in the Kolovrat primary school Milosav Stiković is one of the 37 local infrastructural projects the EU supported with over 4.5 million Euros via the EU PRO Programme and in cooperation with the Ministry for European Integration. These projects aim to improve the quality of people’s lives by improving the conditions in sports and cultural institutions, schools and kindergartens, and health and welfare institutions; some of them will considerably improve the communal infrastructure.
The activities of EU PRO Programme contributing to the more balanced socio-economic development of Serbia, are supported by the European Union with over €25 million. The Programme aims to contribute to increasing the competitiveness of micro and small enterprises, improving the business environment and strengthening social cohesion in 99 local self-government units, in two regions: the Region of Šumadija and Western Serbia and the Region of Southern and Eastern Serbia. The activities in the field are implemented by UNOPS.