Ground was broken for the rehabilitation of the Salt Spring Primary and Infant School in St. James by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) on May 12.
Renovation of the facility will be funded by the Government of Jamaica at a cost of more than $34 million.
The project, which is being done under JSIF’s Integrated Community Development Project II (ICDP II), is expected to be undertaken over a nine-month period.
The work will entail the construction of 190 metres of concrete and chain-link perimeter fencing, a multipurpose court, a guard house with bathroom, a retrofitted double 40-foot container to serve as a multifunctional space, and a concrete platform for the school’s water tanks.
Work will also include the rehabilitation of the linkway between the main building and the school’s canteen, upgrading of the school’s sewerage system, termite treatment and the pavement of the driveway and parking lot.
Regional Director at the Ministry of Education and Youth, Dr. Michelle Pinnock, said the Ministry welcomes the rehabilitation of the institution, “which is in alignment with our thrust to provide high-quality education in a caring, inclusive and enabling environment”.
“This renovation and upgrade of the school will provide a more child-friendly environment and a facility that our staff and students will be proud of. We welcome this move,” she added.
The JSIF also handed over a community park to the Salt Spring residents, which was also funded by the Government and undertaken through JSIF’s ICDP project.
“The Ministry also welcomes the provision of the community park, and we are grateful for the fact that our children and their families will certainly have an open green space for recreation and relaxation. More importantly, our school will have a place where they are able to nurture the athletic capabilities of our students,” Dr. Pinnock said.
She commended the team from JSIF for undertaking the project and thanked them for their patience throughout the process.
For his part, Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union (EU), Aniceto Rodriguez Ruiz, commended JSIF for the work it has been doing in the island’s communities.
He also lauded the agency for its professionalism and punctuality in the delivery and completion of projects.
Mr. Ruiz noted that the EU is partnering with the Government of Jamaica and is providing direct financial support and technical assistance in the sum of some €20 million (J$3.4 billion) “through our budget support programme in supporting citizens’ security”.
“With this support, the Government will have more resources available to deliver social interventions and community infrastructure in vulnerable communities and have access to specialised technical assistance to improve quality of interventions, inter-institutional coordination, use of data for decision-making and monitoring and evaluation to improve performance and impact,” he said.
For her part, Principal of the Salt Spring Primary and Infant School, Norma Brydson, thanked JSIF for the various projects that have been implemented in the community, including the Safe Passage Project at Salt Spring Primary, which is focused primarily on improving road safety for students as they traverse various roadways to and from school.
JSIF also has in place an Environmental Wardens Programme in the community. This initiative includes the training of community members by the agency.
As legal Environmental Officers, the wardens are primarily responsible for improving the awareness of proper waste disposal in the communities before collection by the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA).
Environmental Wardens have the authority to issue tickets to residents if they refuse to obey environmental laws. This ticketing system will be managed by the NSWMA.
For his part, Managing Director of JSIF, Omar Sweeney, said the community has a strong Community Development Committee (CDC) and school leadership with which JSIF collaborates.