A new early childhood school is to be constructed in New Town, near Black River, in St. Elizabeth, at a cost of $20 million.
The contract for the project was signed on March 7 by representatives from New Town and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), at the United Pentecostal Church in the community.
Deputy Mayor of Black River, Councillor Mordant Mitchell, told the signing ceremony that the St. Elizabeth Parish Council gave 100 per cent waiver on building fees, as the project is aimed at educating the nation’s children.
Construction, which has commenced, is slated to be completed within three months.
The new complex will have four classrooms, a kitchen, sick bay, an administrative area, and sanitary facilities. There will also be sewerage and drainage systems, and fencing of the compound. It will accommodate 47 students and four staff members.
In addition to New Town, the school will admit students from Black River, Logwood, Spring Park, Hodges and Luana.
Principal of the school, Varetta Davis, said the new complex will replace the original structure that was built in 1988, and which has become too small for the increased population.
“The members of staff, parents, and children say a big thank you to the Jamaica Social Investment Fund. This initiative will add to the learning experience we offer our students,” she said.
Meanwhile, Project Manager at JSIF, Celia Dillon, said the project will impact positively on the lives of the citizens in New Town and the surrounding communities.
“An investment in early childhood education can be considered a catalyst in changing the educational landscape within the community, and there is good evidence of social capital in this community,” she said.
For his part, guest speaker at the function, Scientist and Minister of Religion, Dr. Lyndon Johnson, urged that focus be placed on quality education at the school.
“After we have constructed the facility, the real work begins, because it is what it does that define the quality of that school,” he said.