Three additional classrooms have been constructed at the Caribbean Maritime Institute (CMI), at a cost of approximately $5.5 million.
The classrooms have been donated by logistics shipping firm, Kingston Logistics Centre Limited (KLC), which utilised refurbished, modified used cargo containers to build them.
There are now 16 classrooms serving the just over 1,000 students enrolled at the institution.
The classrooms were officially handed over to State Minister for Transport, Works and Housing, Hon. Richard Azan, by KLC's General Manager, Michael Cohen, during a brief ceremony at the institute’s campus at Palisadoes Park, Kingston, on June 26.
Outlining details of the undertaking, KLC Director, Charles Johnston, described it as a cost-effective and efficient solution “that is conducive to learning in Jamaica”
“These classrooms were designed to provide natural ventilation. Each classroom has a floor space of 960 sq. ft., outfitted with ceramic flooring for durability,” he outlined.
Air conditioning units have been installed in the classrooms, which were built within two months. Each can comfortably accommodate 80 students.
KLC was established in 2006 out of a joint venture between Israeli entity, ZIM Integrated Shipping Line, and Jamaica firm, Jamaica Fruit and Shipping Company, as a regional shipping logistics hub for international business, offering a range of services.
Mr. Johnston informed that in 2010, KLC diversified its services to incorporate container refurbishing “as a value-added product." He disclosed that the concept of refurbishing containers in infrastructure development has been successfully used to develop, erect and provide housing, classroom and office solutions for a number of private and public sector institutions and organisations across the island.
He said the firm “is aware of the need to have a pool of trained professionals to choose from in delivering optimal services to its customers,” hence the provision of the classrooms.
Executive Director of the CMI, Dr. Fritz Pinnock, welcomed the gesture and expressed gratitude to KLC. He pointed to the practicality of the container concept.
“These containers are hurricane resistant… the roofing structure and the paneling are superior, and I am recommending it,” Dr. Pinnock said.
In an interview with JIS News, Mr. Azan also welcomed the donation, pointing out that both the Ministries of Transport, Works and Housing, and Education, would be working closely with the entity to see how best the concept can be used to provide additional classrooms in schools across the island.
Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Grace McLean, also welcomed the concept. “I think it is an excellent idea when you are able to see a facility that can be constructed within half the time that regular construction will take, and at 50 per cent of the cost."
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter