Tue | Aug 3, 2021

New performing arts centre for St Catherine High

Published:Sunday | June 20, 2021 | 10:26 AM
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (third left), breaks ground for the construction of a new performing arts centre at St. Catherine High School. Also participating (from left): Member of Parliament, St. Catherine South Central, Dr Andrew Wheatley; Minister of Education, Youth and Information,Fayval Williams; Chairman, St Catherine High School Board, Sharon Dale; Chief Executive Officer, CHASE Fund, Billy Heaven, and Principal, Marlon Campbell. (contributed photo)

St Catherine High School, the alma mater of Prime Minister Andrew Holness, is expected to have a new performing arts centre by the end of this year.

Ground was officially broken for the centre at a ceremony on Friday, in which the Prime Minister participated.

Supreme Ventures Limited donated the first $5 million towards the foundation of the building, which has already been done.

The CHASE Fund will construct a section of the performing arts centre on the ground floor, stage area with lighting and sound, a multipurpose seating area for 850 people, male and female restrooms, dressing rooms, floor area of approximately 6,338 sq. ft., at a contract value of $49.9 million.

In his address, the Prime Minister thanked the CHASE Fund, Supreme Ventures Limited, members of the Alumni Association and other donors for their contribution, enabling construction to begin before the official groundbreaking ceremony.

He also called on other donors and corporate groups who can assist, to donate towards additional segments of the plan.

“This is just going to do the first floor of this performing arts centre,” the Prime Minister noted.

For her part, Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Fayval Williams, said the groundbreaking marks another key milestone in the 73-year history of the school.

“As you know, any expansion of facilities on a school's campus is important, as it addresses crucial needs. Your long history and reputation for excellence in musical and dramatic presentations will be further enriched by the expanded space and facilities. I'm sure you will also attract more students to your programmes. This will be a great asset for St Catherine High,” Williams said.

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer, CHASE Fund, Billy Heaven, said they are delighted to be the major financial partner in this venture.

“We are fully aware of the positive impact that this centre will have on St Catherine High School and indeed the wider Spanish Town and St Catherine community,” he said.

“St Catherine High School has undoubtedly made its mark on society in different areas, politics, sports, religion, entertainment, academia and other fields over the past 73 years, boasting a list of distinguished and notable alumni,” he added.

Principal of the institution, Marlon Campbell, is excited about the new performing arts centre.

“Many will ask if such a building is necessary and the answer to that is 'yes'. When the bright minds are housed in spaces that are conducive to learning and exploration, they will learn and explore,” he said.

St Catherine High School has, since its inception, produced numerous performers, such as: gospel artiste, Jermaine Edwards; dancehall artistes, Grace Hamilton, popularly known as Spice, and Michelle Downer, aka D'Angel; and reggae artiste, Jamar McNaughton, popularly known as Chronixx.

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