Update on John Gray HS
Published 22nd February 2017, 8:5am
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands – The new John Gray High School (JGHS) gymnasium project is on track for a May 2017 completion and the project is forecasted to be under budget. The gymnasium completion, which is phase 2 of the overall JGHS redevelopment plan, is progressing very well and it is anticipated that JGHS Students will be able to sit their May 2017 external examinations in this new state-of-the-art facility.
On Friday 17 February, 2017, the Ministry of Education and the JGHS Project Team hosted a tour for senior government officials and the media to show them the progress of the gym. Minister for Education, Hon. Tara Rivers was extremely pleased to see the progress of the facilities to date. She said, “In keeping with how this Government conducts our business, consultation with all the relevant stakeholders, including teachers and students, has taken place to ensure the gymnasium is fit for purpose and to maximise the use of the facility by teachers, students and the public. I would like to thank all involved for bringing this project to fruition. I am excited to see the progress made and look forward to seeing the gym at full completion.”
It was revealed at the tour that the necessary budgetary gains that have been realised through the project, allowed for the procurement of a Photovoltaic array (solar panels), which will be mounted to the roof, and LED lighting throughout the building. Both of these enhancements will help to reduce the running cost of this large building – one of the key requirements for this project. An accounting of the final cost of the project will be released to the public once the project is completed.
“Overcoming the risks associated with completing a partially constructed building and remaining on time and under budget was one of the main challenges for this complicated project” explained Jonathan Matthews, Senior Project Manager, employed by the Ministry of Education, and seconded to the Public Works Department’s (PWD) Major Projects Office. “Through careful planning, risk management and collaboration with the General Contractor McAlpine, we have been able to include all of these energy saving technologies, which is an excellent result for all involved.”
The construction of the gymnasium has also involved JGHS staff to ensure the gym meets the needs of the teachers and students. “The Major Projects Office and client team prioritised stakeholder engagement with the John Gray High School teaching staff,” said JGHS Principal Jon Clark. “This has led to improvements in the design and specification, which will improve the teaching and learning of physical education.”
The new gymnasium will be able to provide space to deliver the indoor physical education curriculum for JGHS students as well as provide space for exams, assemblies and graduations. It will also be a national arena able to host public events, conferences, fairs, state funerals and international sporting events. The sports that it will be internationally rated for are badminton, basketball, 5-a-side football, netball and volleyball. Its capacity for assemblies and sporting events is over 2000 people. It will also be a hurricane shelter, able to withstand a category 5 hurricane and hold approximately 1194 people as a shelter.
It was also announced that Cabinet has approved a Strategic Outline Case (SOC) for the completion of the new John Gray High School campus and the repurposing of the old George Hicks Site (where John Gray is currently operating). Chief Officer in the Ministry of Education, Mr. Christen Suckoo explained the approach for the SOC saying, “Prior to developing and writing, a decision was made by the steering committee to review the policy, vision and best practice in school design on island and in other jurisdictions to inform the direction of the SOC. The intention was to deliver a modern school that will improve educational outcomes and equip the nation for the future.”
Mr. Suckoo continued, “A subcommittee was therefore assembled, with representation from the key stakeholders, to research, develop and write the SOC. The subcommittee began by determining what guiding principles there are that connect school design with education outcomes. From the research, it was clear that to improve learning and learning spaces, teachers and students must be involved in the development of the design. This will therefore ensure that the proposed project will provide the necessary facilities to help enhance the Cayman Islands Government Education System and assist with improved teaching and learning for our students.”
Principal Clark expanded on this: “We engaged with our teaching staff by presenting to them and explaining how important it was that they were involved in the development of the design principles for the completion of the new JGHS campus. An on-line questionnaire was then sent to them asking them to provide input and feedback. The results of this survey were used as the basis for developing the SOC.”
The Strategic Outline Case goes in to great depth in developing a potential project scope and list of project options that meet the requirements of the key stakeholders. A thorough and rigorous approach was used to ensure that all viable solutions were considered and evaluated in providing new facilities for JGHS and the other educational establishments. A short-list of project options has been recommended in the SOC for further analysis and evaluation in the Outline Business Case (OBC).
“With the SOC approved by Cabinet, we are now in the process of preparing an advert and Request For Proposal document for the procurement of the multi-discipline consultant team required to develop and write the OBC. We envisage completing this procurement in the next two months,” explained Mr. Matthews. “The OBC will include extensive stakeholder engagement and will build on the thorough approach of the SOC to ensure that new facilities are provided that are fit for purpose, provide centres of excellence in learning and represent value for money to the government”