Karen Sudu, Gleaner Writer
GINGER RIDGE, St Catherine:
STUDENTS AT Ginger Ridge All-Age School in west central St Catherine are eagerly anticipating the completion of their new sanitary facilities.
"I feel very scared when I have to use the pit latrine, and now I am very happy that they are building the new toilets," Jaheem Bowers, a grade-four student told The Gleaner recently.
Construction of the new facilities began on January 15. The $6 million project is being financed by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund.
"I am elated! It is a milestone, because most of the children don't want to use the pit latrines, so they tend to hold until they get home," acting principal Patrinia Archer told The Gleaner.
"There will be three toilets for the females, two for the males, a urinal, and two showers," she added.
The project is a dream come true for the past students' association, as over the last three years, it staged three activities to raise funds in its quest to replace the pit latrines at the institution.
It was after it failed to realise its dream early last year, and through the instrumentality of John Wilson, councillor, Ginger Ridge division, that the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) intervened.
In March, a team from the OPM, including representatives from the CHASE Fund, visited the institution.
"This is one of the greatest achievements since the school has been in existence," said Vernon Anderson, president, past students' association.
Yandi Mills, president, parent-teacher association, said her organisation was overwhelmed.
"We are very happy and excited about what is happening. The new toilets are long overdue. I wasn't too pleased with the children using the pit latrines," she told The Gleaner.
Both Anderson and Mills lauded Archer for her performance since she took leadership of the institution, which has 87 on roll, last September.
Listed among the projects undertaken at the institution since Archer assumed leadership are construction of a retaining wall along the playfield, painting of the institution, and installation of a water tank for the teachers' restroom.