Wed | Aug 23, 2017

JC opens Mayer Matalon Dormitory

Published:Monday | July 18, 2016 | 7:00 AM
Jacqueline Sharp (centre), Scotia Group president and CEO, listens intently as R. Danny Williams (left), chairman Jamaica College Foundation, chats with Minister of Education, Youth and Information Ruel Reid. The three were all part of a ribbon-cutting exercise at the recent opening of dormitories at Jamaica College.

Come September, Jamaica College returns to its roots by accommodating boarding students for the first time in 50 years.

The Mayer Matalon Dormitory was officially opened last Thursday on the school's Old Hope Road campus. Chair of the Jamaica College Foundation, R. Danny Williams, noted the school originally only had boarders before accepting day students.

The boarding programme ended in 1966. The move to build a dormitory had gathered steam a little over a decade ago when the decision was made to overhaul the entire school. The dormitory is the last project of a 10-year plan that arose from those discussions.

Williams noted that the dormitory is important because old boys want to send their sons and grandsons to the school, plus there are boys who need a stable environment to learn properly. Also, student athletes for whom travel would be difficult, will be better able to train. He lauded the man whose name the dormitory bears.

"In addition to being a past student, Mayer Matalon played a significant role in the life of Jamaica College," he said. "For several years, Carlton Alexander and himself were the main benefactors of this school, when very few others were willing."

Acting principal Wayne Robinson said the aim of the dormitory is to ensure that JC produces the kind of boy who will have a positive impact on the school body and the world.

 

The prototype

 

In thanking the various sponsors, including the Matalon family and Scotiabank (who collaborated to produce half of the approximately $80 million the dormitory costs), Robinson vowed: "This is going to be the prototype of what boarding schools are going to be."

Williams assured that "nothing has been spared. We've had the best engineers, best quantity surveyors and builders". The dormitory uses its own tank farm, where water (whether dew or rain) is collected from the roof.

"That will serve here (the dormitory) and will help to water the football field," he said.

School board Chairman Michael Bernard said the two-storey building has three dormitory areas, two of them upstairs, and is constructed to house 72 boys.

"On each floor, we have facilities for a dorm prefect/supervisor. We have facilities for the boys to sit and study. In addition to their bedding facilities, there's a wardrobe-type unit and the bathrooms are lovely. We hope they will be kept that way," he joked."

A plaque honouring more than 40 donors was also unveiled.

daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com