New $24m ward at St James Infirmary nears completion
A new ward being constructed at the St James Infirmary at a cost of $24 million will be ready for occupancy by the end of January.
The St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC) says the new ward is approximately 85 per cent ready and forms part of a comprehensive development plan for that facility. It is expected to house 50 residents upon completion.
“The need for the ward was identified through the board of supervision, and from there, St James Municipal Corporation commenced work to the tune of $10 million,” said Montego Bay’s Mayor Leeroy Williams. “The effort was bolstered by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, which provided additional financial support, and today, we are very pleased to know that the building is on the brink of completion, on time, and within budget.”
The mayor said it was a good example of how central and local governments can collaborate to execute projects.
“We are grateful [to be able] to complete this project to ensure that our residents at the infirmary are properly served at the highest standard as our responsibility to the more vulnerable members of our society is a priority,” said Williams.
Noting that the project has been long in coming, Gerald Lee, the chief executive officer of the StJMC, said it was a timely addition in light of the pandemic.
“Once completed, the St James Infirmary will be a state-of-the-art facility with a fully equipped nurse’s station, isolation ward, and other integral infrastructure,” said Lee. “Particularly now, as we try to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, … it is good to know that we have enough space to adhere to the social distancing protocol while also accommodating residents.”
Matron Jacqueline Wilson said that in addition to giving the facility a new look, the new ward should boost staff morale.
“The long-standing public perception that the infirmary is a poor house will definitely be changed, and I really look forward to everyone having a new mindset and a new thinking about the operation of the facility,” said Wilson.