Hundreds of schools spruced up for new academic year
Thousands of students and teachers will begin the new academic year today in much-improved surroundings.
Education Minister Ruel Reid has indicated that 172 institutions were identified for repairs at a cost of $554.3 million under the school maintenance project.
He said $316.7 million was disbursed to 122 schools to undertake crucial works to facilitate the reopening of plants for September.
The other 50 institutions are under contract for various renovations at a cost of $174.4 million.
In the meantime, 14 early childhood institutions were identified for modifications for the creation of infant departments.
Contracts were awarded for projects at 11 schools at a cost of $49.5 million. Construction activities have started with works up to 80 per cent completed on some projects.
In addition to the repairs and maintenance, Reid told the Jamaica Information Service that upgrading projects are being undertaken at several other institutions across the island.
At Pembroke Hall High School in St Andrew, three classrooms are being constructed at a cost of $14 million. The project is slated for completion in October.
The Cedric Titus High in Trelawny is building four classrooms from a $31-million allocation, while at the Sydney Pagon Academy in St Elizabeth, three classrooms are being built at a cost of $24 million.
Work is 50 per cent complete on a $27-million upgrading project at the Bellevue Primary and Junior High in Trelawny, while the tender process is under way for the construction of four classrooms at Maldon High in St James.
The Manchester-based Bryce Primary is being upgraded under a $26-million project, and design work is completed for a $50-million restoration project at Westwood High in Trelawny.
Giving an update on the sanitation programme, the education minister said $76 million was allocated in the 2017-18 Budget to upgrade bathrooms at 35 of 42 schools that still had pit latrines.
The remaining seven schools will be completed through partnership with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund and the Culture, Health, Arts, Science and Education Fund.