Minister of Education Myron Walwyn has announced plans to build a new school on Jost Van Dyke.
The new school will replace Jost Van Dyke Primary which was severely damaged by the hurricanes.
The education minister said the school will be built at a new location.
“We had an assessment done on the [old] school. It cannot be fixed. The structure is totally compromised and so the school has to get knocked down.”
“One of the problems with that school is it always suffered from flooding because of where it’s situated so whenever it rained you can’t use the campus. There is a piece of land adjacent to the school that was earmarked for a community center years ago. We are in discussions now with health to be able to access that land and we don’t envisage having a problem. So, that is going to be the new location for the school. It’s a bit more on an incline so the probability of it flooding wouldn’t take place,” Walwyn said.
Youth centre, preschool part of new structure
The minister also said he is hoping to build the new structure with some additional facilities.
He said there are plans to build the school with a community youth centre, among other things.
“I hope for the school to be a bigger school [than the old one] because one of the things I would have liked to have included in there was somewhat of a youth centre because Jost Van Dyke has a growing youth population and there really isn’t a place for the young people to congregate,” Walwyn explained, adding that a preschool might also be added to the new facility.
“The preschool over in Jost Van Dyke was being run by the Methodist church. That has been destroyed as well and so we are thinking about making accommodations within the new school for the preschool as well. It would be pretty much like what we have in Anegada at Claudia Creque so it should be a bigger institution,” he said.
Walwyn said the cost to build a new school is not known yet. However, it is said that The Richardson Foundation has pledged to help with the build.
“We were putting plans together in terms of what we think the school should look like and what it should contain. They are going to have their own architects draw it and everything so we are going to have a meeting very early in January just to work those machinations,” he said.
Primary students on Jost Van Dyke are currently being taught in the building that houses the school library on that island.
Walwyn said ferry operators Blue Ocean Caribbean Enterprises has also committed to assisting government with rebuilding the upstairs section of the library to create more space for students while plans for a new school are developed.
Other schools being repaired
In the meantime, Blue Ocean is further assisting in repairing Leonora Delville Primary so students on the at Capoons Bay can be moved out of tents and placed in a physical school building, Walwyn said.
As for other damaged schools, Walwyn said demolition has started for Enis Adams Primary school in Meyers/Greenbank Estate. That school is also being rebuilt.
He added: “Discussions are ongoing with the North Sound Foundation for the rebuilding of the Robinson O’Neal Memorial Primary school [in Virgin Gorda]. They are in the process of finalizing the plans and they are working with a timeline of delivering the school for the start of the 2018-2019 school year.”
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