Work on building one of the Bregado Flax Education Centre/Secondary Division on Virgin Gorda has officially commenced and is expected to be completed in about four months.
The 150 feet long by 40 feet wide, two-level structure will receive a brand new concrete roof, new flooring, handrails, windows, doors, and a fresh coat of paint thanks to a $1.1 million donation by the UNITE BVI and the Cable & Wireless Foundation.
UNITE BVI contributed $1 million while the Cable & Wireless Foundation donated $100,000.
The new structure is also expected to be solar powered.
The structure is made up of classroom facilities and designated areas for home economics, woodwork, music, and sewing.
Colin MacDonald, who is General Manager for Flow and the representative of the Cable and Wireless Foundation told BVI News that the charitable organisation was happy to help.
He said since the last year’s hurricanes, they have been working with UNITE BVI with a view to target and support to priority projects.
“Obviously, the school was identified early as in great need … Soon the kids will have a real roof over their heads and get the technology lab from our side up and running,” he said.
Would-be BVI vacationers contributed part of the donation
Meanwhile, representative of the Unite BVI Foundation, Sir Richard Branson, said part of the funds came from persons who had paid to vacation at Necker Island.
He said the would-be vacationers were unable to visit Necker because of the hurricanes so he was asked them to channel the funds towards the rebuilding of the territory.
“We are obviously excited and we are looking forward to when the school is rebuilt to celebrate with you,” he said.
In the meantime, Education Minister Myron Walwyn said the government is grateful for the help.
“I am indeed elated that we were able to get to this point,” the minister said while giving remarks at the commencement ceremony on Tuesday.
He said the government had recognized the school’s need prior to the hurricanes and was in the process of securing funds for it when the 2017 hurricanes stalled them.
“I dare say, had it not been for the hurricane, the construction of the school would almost be finished by now. But God has different plans and we have to work with his plans and not with ours,” Walwyn said.
Premier Dr D Orlando Smith, who also delivered brief remarks at the ceremony, described the partnership between government and the private donors as a ‘great’ opportunity that arose as a result of the hurricanes.
“We recognized that there was quite a significant amount of work to be done, and this now is the start,” he said.
Gov’t to fund rest of repairs
Ninth District representative Dr Hubert O’Neal also pitched in, saying: “I am perhaps the happiest person here today.”
He described Virgin Gorda as being ‘blessed’ to have people living among them who are willing to assist them in times of need.
Jose DeCastro undertook the architectural designs while Rufred Forbes and Associates are the contractors for the project.
Government will fund repairs for the rest of the school upon completion of this first phase.
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