Students and teachers of the Freeman’s Hall Primary and Infant School in Trelawny are now enjoying more comfortable surroundings, following extensive upgrading of the institution by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) at a cost of over $31 million.
The scope of work, which was undertaken through contribution from the community, included construction and partition of classrooms, installation of new windows and doors, replacement of the roof, construction of a bathroom block, building of ramps to facilitate the physically challenged, and installation of a water tank with pump.
Principal of the school, Sandra Green, told JIS News that the improvements, which were completed in June 2012, have helped to boost morale and students are taking greater pride in their school. She said children are attending classes more regularly and there is 100 per cent turnout on Fridays, which has helped to improve academic performance.
“We are far more comfortable. The children, they are excited about their new school. The staff morale has been heightened, and whenever persons come to the school they often comment at how the school is beautiful,” she stated at yesterday’s (April 10) official handing over of the institution by JSIF.
Education Officer, Linda Miller, encouraged the community members to take care of the facility.
“Each of us here today has a special role to play in ensuring that this transformed school is properly maintained. I, therefore, charge us all to take responsibility for this project, to protect it, and to ensure that this improved learning environment will encourage community members to actively participate in the life of the school. I pray that whatever will be done in this renovated building, will be for the betterment of the students, whom we are all called to serve,” Mrs. Miller said.
For community member and parent, Norman McNaughton, the improvement of the institution is a “dream come true” and he pledged to do everything to protect the facility.
General Manager for Infrastructure and Civil Works at JSIF, Andrew Neita, informed that the upgrading has greatly enhanced the teaching and learning environment for the 116 students and teachers at the school.
Additionally, it will provide a better meeting space for the over 1,000 residents who use the school for a host of activities, including community meetings, and sporting events.
“I wish to commend the school’s administrators, who, despite their limitations, were strident in their efforts to undertake the improvement. This, for JSIF, is a clear indication that they will ensure that the facilities are sustained,” he stated.
Meanwhile, keynote speaker at the event and Head of the Business Department at the Albert Town High School, Dwayne Edwards, said the school is “now a model of how learning institutions should look”.
“To the parents, I want you to impress upon your children the need to treat the school with care. To the general community, this is your school. Your duty is to protect the school,” he said.
By Garfield Angus, JIS Reporter