A $32 million contract for construction of the Albert Town Infant School in Southern Trelawny and upgrading of the adjoining primary institution, was signed on Thursday, February 28.
The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) is implementing the project through its Community Investment Project (CIP), which is funded by the Caribbean Development Bank. Work is slated to begin immediately, and is scheduled to be completed in four months. The Albert Town Benevolent Society is contributing some $4 million of the project cost.
The project, when completed, will create a more comfortable teaching/learning environment for the more than 580 students at the two institutions, inclusive of 89 students at the infant school, teachers and ancillary staff.
General Manager at JSIF, Rhonda Lumsden-Lue, in her address at the contract signing, held on the grounds of the primary school, noted that the existing conditions at both institutions make them very deserving of the assistance.
She said the work to be carried out on the infant school will put it in a position to meet the standards specified by the Early Childhood Commission (ECC), in order for it to be recognised as a certified early childhood institution.
The scope of work will include the construction of an infant facility with four classrooms, kitchen, sick bay, administrative area, sanitary facilities, sewerage system and drainage, a covered corridor, and a play area.
Meanwhile, the work on the primary school will include: completion of an expanded portion of a building; provision of proper partitions for classrooms; repairs to perimeter fencing; improvement of sanitary facilities; installation of windows and doors; provision of external lighting; ceiling and roof repairs; landscaping and removal of derelict structures; and provision of water storage tanks.
“We commend the sponsor body, the Albert Town Benevolent Society, which has pursued this project as a priority. The society is very active in the community, and this is encouraging when sustainability of the project is considered,” Mrs. Lumsden-Lue stated.
Territorial Education Officer with the Ministry of Education’s Region Three, Linda Campbell-Miller, expressed appreciation to JSIF for its assistance in “making a community dream come true”.
She said that the work to be carried out should serve as an inspiration to the children of the community, who will become the country’s leaders.
Member of Parliament for the Southern Trelawny constituency in which the schools are located, Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, lauded the work to be done.
She said that education and “doing the best we can for our children” are issues that all Jamaicans should rally around.
Mrs. Dalrymple-Philibertsaid she is pleased that focus is being placed at the early childhood and primary levels, and expressed support for a statement from Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites, that “as a nation, we have to get the education process right the first time”.