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Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, has signed a contract for the construction of the Steer Town High School in St. Ann.
The project, which is valued at over $484 million, is expected to commence in two weeks and should be completed in 12 months. The contract was signed on October 9, at the Ministry of Education’s Head Office in Kingston.
“When I look at the plans for Steer Town High, I see that we have made significant effort in providing adequate classrooms – 21 classrooms – 17 labs, a design that is accommodating for persons with special needs, taking into account a pick up and drop off area; a design also to take into consideration, safety and security issues,” the Minister said.
“We ensured that the design was one that would increase the capacity of the school.the school also represents the Ministry of Education’s attempt to align itself with the development of our urban areas,” he added.
Mr. Holness explained that Ocho Rios is a growing tourist area, the population is growing and the Ministry has to provide adequate training for persons. “So, this school, in a sense, represents our attempt to align the needs of the industry.the school will be operating in such a way, so as to ensure that the space provided is perceived as quality space,” he said.
The Minister said that Steer Town High would be so developed, that it would be supported by parents and the community.
“Every attempt will be made to ensure that this school will be run in such a way, that it provides quality education, a space where parents will want to send their children and an educational facility that the community and indeed the industry in that area will support,” he argued.
“It is not just about building the facility, we are also going to be expending a great deal of our efforts in ensuring that the right human resources are in place, in terms of teachers and principal, and that we spend some time to build the groundwork for proper relationships between the community and the school, parents and the school, and the business community and the school, to ensure that Steer Town High is a success,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of Jatlin Construction and Associates, Patrick Smellie, has pledged to carry out the work on time and within budget.
Member of Parliament for North East St. Ann, Shahine Robinson, who witnessed the contract signing, expressed appreciation for the new school.
“We really need that high school in St. Ann, and in particular, Steer Town… we welcome it and all the residents are looking for, not just the employment, but a new school, a new education complex,” she said.
The school will also have an auditorium, a 60-student capacity library, a multi-purpose hard court, a playing field, wheelchair ramps and other conveniences.