- Some 150 children aged 3 to 6 years old from the Union Gardens Community in South West St. Andrew will have a greatly improved educational experience for the 2015/2016 Academic Year with the construction of the new state-of-the-art Union Gardens Infant School.
- With a total project cost of $120 million, the new infant school models the award-winning Evelyn Mitchell Infant School and Centre of Excellence in Clarendon.
- The Union Gardens Infant School Project will effectively merge three basic schools in the South West St. Andrew constituency.
Some 150 children aged 3 to 6 years old from the Union Gardens Community in South West St. Andrew will have a greatly improved educational experience for the 2015/2016 Academic Year with the construction of the new state-of-the-art Union Gardens Infant School.
With a total project cost of $120 million, the new infant school models the award-winning Evelyn Mitchell Infant School and Centre of Excellence in Clarendon, which was spearheaded by Cari-Med Chairman and noted philanthropist Glen Christian in partnership with the Government of Jamaica.
Following the significant positive impact that the school has had on the surrounding communities, Mr. Christian has subsequently formed a team of charitable business leaders to replicate the Evelyn Mitchell Centre of Excellence in the Union Gardens community in which Cari-Med operates.
During her address at the Union Gardens Project Launch on Wednesday, March 4, Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for South West St. Andrew, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller highlighted the importance of public-private sector partnerships to national development. “It is projects like these that demonstrate how public-private sector partnerships can truly transform communities and ultimately the nation,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said. She added that “the construction of the Union Gardens Infant School is going to have a significant impact on the constituency and community of Union Gardens.”
The Union Gardens Infant School Project will effectively merge three basic schools in the South West St. Andrew constituency, into one infant school of approximately 11,000 square feet in size, which will be managed by the Ministry of Education. The Union Gardens Infant School will be designed using the basic planning standards for early childhood institutions, prepared by the Early Childhood Commission of Jamaica and will boast several architectural features.
These include a covered walkway with play areas, adjoining semi-enclosed teaching areas and landscaped common areas; ramps to facilitate general ease of movement particularly for the physically challenged and disabled and an electrical infrastructure for solar power will be provided as part of the project. Additionally, teachers will be trained and certified by the Ministry of Education and transportation to and from school will be provided free of cost. Students will receive a free hot lunch daily and will not be required to pay fees.
Expressing gratitude for the strong support from the private sector and the Union Gardens Foundation in making the construction of the new school possible, Mrs. Simpson Miller commended the project steering committee, the working committee and donors for their commitment to the project. “The people of South West St. Andrew will not forget what you are doing for the children. Thank you,” the Prime Minister said.
Donors contributing in cash and kind to the construction of the school include Cari-Med & Kirk Distributors Foundation, Continental Baking Company, Musson Group, Sandals Foundation, Advanced Integrated Systems, Kingston Wharves Ltd., Jamaica National Building Society, Stewarts Auto Group, BH Paints, CHASE Fund, Arc Manufacturing and Delta Supplies.