JIS News

Expansion work is expected to commence shortly at the Jose Marti and York Castle high schools in St. Catherine and St. Ann respectively, following the signing of two contracts totaling more than $58 million at the Ministry of Education and Youth’s National Heroes Circle offices yesterday (April 6).
The contract for York Castle High, valued at $25 million and awarded to Alfrasure Structures and Roofing, will provide for the construction of a two storey concrete building comprising five additional classrooms, staff room, scouts office and bathroom facilities.
Meanwhile, Matrix Engineering Limited will undertake the upgrading of Jose Marti High at a cost of $33.2 million and the scope of work will include the construction of a single storey, two classroom building; extension of an existing two storey building to provide an additional six classrooms, reading room, girls and boys bathrooms, and two storerooms.
Permanent Secretary Maria Jones, in her remarks at the signing ceremony, urged the contractors “pull out all the stops” to complete the work as quickly as possible, noting that the “need for quality space for students was truly great”.
“We can’t stress it enough,” she added.
Claude Stewart, a member of the Education Transformation Team, explained that the work at York Castle High would see some 200 spaces being added. “The school currently has an enrollment of 1,226, and is overcrowded, so this will just be the beginning of reducing the overcrowding at York Castle,” he said.
For Jose Marti, he noted, an additional 450 spaces would be made available for grades 7 and 8 students. “As soon as this expansion is finished, the school will be well positioned to accommodate the population they have which is 1,267,” he informed.
Beverly Hawthorne, principal of York Castle, told JIS News that she was pleased about the project, noting that the work would help to ease overcrowding at the school. She noted that the institution was built to accommodate 400 students, but there were now 1,226 students on roll.
“This means the world to me,” she said, adding that the school currently had classes with more than 60 students accommodated in small spaces.

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