Published 7th June 2011, 6:19pm
Ground has now been broken for three new wings at the George Town, Savannah and Bodden Town Primary schools.
Education Minister, the Hon. Rolston Anglin, JP, along with several of his government colleagues, participated in official ceremonies marking the start of each project over the last few weeks.
George Town Primary School will receive a 17,510 square-foot addition, which will include nine classrooms with self-contained storage and restrooms, in addition to a school library, five administrative-support spaces and an outdoor play area.
The 12,000 square-foot space earmarked for Savannah Primary will add eight new classrooms, also with self-contained storage and restrooms, and a library. For Bodden Town Primary, the new 5,300 square foot wing will add six classrooms, a school library and new administration office.
Explaining the logic behind the project, Minister Anglin said the upgrades were part of his ministry's strategic plan to further develop Cayman's education product.
He cited aging primary school structures, costly maintenance of modular units and diminishing classroom space as the chief motivators for the expansion project.
"Most primary school classrooms are cramped, leaving teachers and students with even less space as the enrolment numbers increase each year," he said.
"These upgrades will both solve that problem and make provision for future growth. I believe they'll make a huge impact on teaching and learning, at minimal cost."
He further noted that the upgrades would facilitate space needed for reintroduction of reception classes at primary schools, as well as the removal of all modular classroom units, the maintenance costs of which, he said, continue to spiral upwards.
Upgrading the George Town, Savannah, and Bodden Town schools marks the continuation of a larger ministry thrust to ensure that facility needs of all primary schools are met.
A new 2,700 square foot school hall has already been completed at East End Primary, while construction has also commenced on a 5,300 square-foot addition for West Bay's Sir John A. Cumber Primary School. Later this year, construction of a 6,600 square foot wing is slated to begin at Prospect Primary School. It will add six classrooms.
"Just after taking office I discovered that our facilities were impeding teaching and learning," Minister Anglin noted. "We therefore developed a master plan for all our schools, ensuring that it factored in future population growth. The new facilities are designed to enhance the learning experience."
George Town Primary School Principal Marie Martin is excited about the projects. With specific reference to her own school, she said the upgrade was long in coming.
"This is the most progress we've seen; and we are delighted because teachers and students alike deserve much better than their current facilities. I thank the ministry for the level of commitment to this new building and really anticipate its completion."
Bodden Town Primary Principal Cetonya Cacho was equally enthused that the new building would provide classrooms for the introduction of reception classes at the school. She said this would help to ensure a higher education standard for children aged four to five years.
Supporting her comment, she shared the results of recent research conducted with Year 1 math students at the school. Her data indicated that parental involvement, supported by an educational foundation in either a pre-school or reception programme, was positively correlated with high achieving students.
Government representatives attending the groundbreaking events included Minister of Community Affairs, Gender and Housing, the Hon. Michael Adam, MBE; Minister of Health, Environment, Youth, Sports & Culture, the Hon. Mark Scotland, JP; Legislative Assembly Members Ellio Solomon, Dwayne Seymour and Anthony Eden, OBE; Education Ministry Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues; and Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler. Parent Teacher Association presidents were also in attendance.
The George Town, Savannah and Bodden Town projects will be constructed by McAlpine, Lalev Construction and Myles Construction respectively.