Asoc Stories

The Galilei High School of Potenza and the Seismic Retrofitting of San Carlo Hospital


Health, risk prevention, and structural enhancement of the city hospital, well-being of the entire community. These are the key concepts that have ignited the passion of students from the Galilei High School in Potenza in their civic monitoring efforts. This drive doesn't come from just one class but from two class-teams that carried out monitoring in different editions of the ASOC educational program, thanks to the skilled guidance of Professor Maria Rosaria Sabina. Every year, she includes ASOC among the activities scheduled as part of the official Path for Transversal Skills and Orientation.

The project observed by the Health Workers and 3BinCorsia teams concerns the seismic retrofitting of pavilions M2, M3, I4, I5, and I6 at the San Carlo Hospital in Potenza. The former embarked on this initiative in the year when the pandemic reshaped our lives and, even more significantly, the entire healthcare system. The latter continued to follow the path laid out by their peers, seeking to delve deeper into an additional infrastructure enhancement project, driven by the objective of actively contributing and allowing citizens to closely observe the progress of the work through a "privileged" magnifying glass.

But the students didn't stop at the educational steps outlined in the ASOC project. Exactly one year after the conclusion of the program, thanks to the "ASOC Experience" format, designed to highlight the civic monitoring carried out by participating classes in previous years, they returned to observe the interventions. They once again engaged with experts and responsible technicians, aiming to gather responses and additional points for reflection.

"The decision was made to focus on this project because it addresses an issue close to the hearts of all citizens: securing an essential facility for the well-being of the community. If the work can be successfully completed, it will enhance the functionality not only of the affected pavilions but also of the entire healthcare complex. Situated in a region with a high seismic activity, it requires strong and functionally efficient structures," the professor explains. She embarked on this civic journey in the 2019-2020 school year, with encouragement from the School Principal, Lucia Girolamo.

After the profound wounds left by the earthquake of '80, the region of Basilicata and its citizens hold all matters related to seismic safety close to their hearts. And when these issues are intertwined with those of regional healthcare, the level of attention is even greater.

From the blog of the Health Workers team, who managed to obtain an interview with the former Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, it is evident that "for about ten years, the San Carlo Hospital in Potenza has been collaborating with the University of Basilicata with the aim of understanding the vulnerability of the territory. According to this analysis, the A-B-C-I-L-M pavilions are at higher risk because they are taller and also older. To address this issue, it is necessary to either demolish or retrofit these structures."

Specifically, an allocation of 4 million euros from cohesion funds was made for pavilions M2-M3, with a portion earmarked for technical and design costs. The construction work was supposed to commence after the approval of the executive project for the installation of base-isolation structures, aimed at ensuring greater earthquake safety. However, to this day, due to delays caused not only by the pandemic but also other factors, the intervention has not yet been completed.

In 2019, Irene Santoro embarked on this journey with her classmates. Today, at the age of 20, she is studying Cardiovascular Physiopathology and Cardiovascular Perfusion Techniques at Sapienza University in Rome. However, she continues to fondly remember her experience with civic monitoring. "Our path with A Scuola di OpenCoesione," she says, "was infused with profound meaning, as it unfolded during an unconventional period in history that touched us all deeply. It made us rediscover the importance and beauty of solidarity, of which ASOC was an exemplar. This experience reinforced our understanding of how crucial it is to be active citizens and sensitive to the issues of our small community, especially during a public health emergency of this magnitude. We had to remain united as a team even at a distance, and this taught us the value of information and the educational power of technology and digital tools."

The strong sense of responsibility is also evident in the name that the students chose for their research: "We felt and invited the entire community to be little health workers," Irene continues, "to make a concrete contribution to our region by working towards the improvement of healthcare. After all, the project we chose to monitor doesn't concern only the workers involved but the entire community, which has an obligation to take an interest in everything related to health and safety."

This is the spirit with which the class approached civic monitoring during the year of Covid-19, and it influenced the 3BinCorsia team in the following year as well.

Rosa De Carlo will soon leave her region to pursue her studies elsewhere, and she tells us that the thing that stimulated her interest most of all was the tangible aspect of the project. "The opportunity to transparently understand the cost of these interventions," she says, "and to grasp the financial effort required for infrastructure projects of this nature made the School-Work Alternation activity even more intriguing. Furthermore, having the opportunity to engage with project representatives was enriching from various perspectives."

In the 2020-2021 edition, with all the restrictions still in place due to the pandemic, the team was able to monitor another investment related to the San Carlo Hospital in Potenza, this time appreciating the use of new technologies and innovative materials. But that's not all! From the interviews conducted, the students discovered that the need to establish the Trauma Center arose from the retrofitting of the pavilions and the emergency context. This Trauma Center will consist of 8 rooms, and on the upper floors, there will be operating rooms suitable for accommodating patients from the earliest level of emergency to medium levels. The reasons for the construction of this new center include:

  • Healthcare reasons, for more immediate intervention.

  • Logistic reasons, to separate the flow of internal patients from those coming from outside.

  • Seismic reasons, as Pavilion A, which will be demolished in the future (because it was built before Potenza was designated a seismic zone), is not in use except for a central operating room, which will be relocated to the Trauma Center.

"At the beginning of the monitoring," explains Professor Sabina, "the project had not yet started, and this was the very reason that sparked their curiosity. One year later, the students returned to the site to visit the construction site and ask new questions about the progress of the intervention, and they were surprised to learn that the work had begun."

The Hospital, the beating heart of an entire community and a regional excellence, is under the spotlight. The young citizen monitors of ASOC don't let go. Even though they have gone to study elsewhere, they continue to take an active interest in the most relevant local issues. They are spreading an important message among their peers and beyond – the need to get involved and take care of the public good.

Show monitored project Go to ASOC team's blog

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