Holland High to make furniture for primary schools
Having repaired more than 500 damaged desks and several chairs ahead of the new school year and with plans to tackle hundreds more by the end of the current term, Holland High School is gearing up to start producing furniture for a number of primary institutions.
The Trelawny-based school has been contracted by the education ministry to make the furniture after proving its skills at restoring damaged desks to full use and at a high standard, Principal Dayle Evans told The Gleaner.
“The Ministry of Education is now contracting us to make desks and chairs, and we are entering into that project with the ministry, through the regional office, to make desks and chairs for primary schools,” said Evans. “We started discussion in July, and so we are now working on the construction of a workshop. We have our own compressor and our own welding plant.”
The arrangement with Holland High is similar to a furniture-making programme under which the education ministry engaged eight secondary schools over the summer holidays to build desks and chairs for other institutions across the island.
The schools currently participating in that programme, for which they will be paid by the ministry, are Muschett High in Trelawny; Central High and Vere Technical High in Clarendon; Ocho Rios High in St Ann; Oracabessa High in St Mary; Port Antonio High in Portland; and St Andrew Technical High in St Andrew.
Holland High is using micro-fibre boards to build its furniture instead of plain wood. The boards are stored at a section of the school grounds in proximity to piles of desk and chair frames, which are either to be salvaged or have been set aside for dumping.
Evans explained that Holland High’s foray into making furniture came out of necessity as a response to the discovery of a termite infestation across the compound prior to the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020.
“We had reported the matter to the Ministry of Education, but because of the COVID-19 lockdown, everything was on lockdown for two years. We started the refurbishing of the furniture because we realised that the material used to make the desks were not properly treated, so the entire campus is termite infested,” said Evans.
“We have encountered termites in all grade levels, and so far, we have replaced over 500 desks. We did the refurbishing of chairs to change them from their former grey colour into the predominantly blue colour they now have,” explained Evans. “We have refurbished from grades seven through to nine, and we hope to do grades 10 and 11 in this term.”