Kunsel Kyetsal: The Vision Becomes Reality
Golok community leaders knew that without outside support, their new Tibetan high school risk raising hopes only to dash them. Families would not forgo extra hands at home to send their children to school without confidence that doing so would lead to improved employment opportunities and greater economic security.
In 2004, project manager Luktso worked to obtain the required government approvals and permits, had the plans drawn up and consulted with architects and engineers. Meanwhile, Sogan Rinpoche was working in the US to form The Sogan Foundation.
The contractor broke ground on September 1, 2005, an auspicious day carefully selected in accordance with Tibetan custom. The ceremonies were covered by local and regional media. Leaders and dignitaries, including writers, religious scholars, and government officials took part.
Excavation for this project was extensive. Prior to breaking ground, some crumbling adobe structures built in the 1950's had to be demolished and removed.
After excavation, concrete work began. Steel reinforcement guaranteed a stable foundation for the massive building that would eventually take shape.
A good view of the extent of the excavation required on this job. It's not hard to understand why digging this deep foundation was limited to warmer months when the earth is softer. After each stage of construction, the project was inspected by the local building department.
The foundation was finished within two months, after which it was inspected and certified as meeting government building codes.
A welder works, and in the distance, evidence of approaching colder weather dusts nearby hillsides. Soon all work was halted since construction was impossible during the extreme Golok winter. In April 2006, work began again.
Namti, left, manager of project funds and Luktso, project manager, discuss construction progress.
Steel reinforcements add tensile strength to the brick and concrete structure.
Workers begin laying the second floor. The construction was done by the First Construction and Engineering Corporation of Chengdu City, in accordance with regulations established by the Qinghai Department of Civil Engineering.
Namti's past experience overseeing the budget for the reconstruction of his monastery made him well-qualified to administer the project grant funds.
Steel reinforced concrete columns form the building's skeleton, with brick masonry filling in the walls of the structure.
Luktso, our project manager, had recently retired after many years working for the Qinghai Department of Education overseeing projects similar to Kunsel Kyetsal. Her professional experience, expertise, and selfless service were critical to the project's success.
The construction crew lays the masonry for the first floor.
On October 14, 2006, the building passed inspection and local officials certified that it met all applicable codes and standards. Remarkably, only a year after ground was broken, the building was completed. Still, more work laid ahead to furnish and equip the interior.