By Latrishka Thomas
As of the 28th November, work to expand the St. Mary’s Secondary School (SMSS) in Antigua and the Sir McChesney George Secondary School (SMGSS) in Barbuda, will begin simultaneously.
The upgrades will be funded by two separate loans that have been approved by Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
Yesterday, the Project Coordinator for Civil Works within the planning unit of the Ministry of Education, Chad Knight-Alexander, Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Anges Ryan, Acting Director of Education Beverly Allen and the Contractor for the projects, Colin Harrigan participating in a signing ceremony commemorate the start of the project.
“I am grateful to be apart of the project and to finally see the commencement of these works. Its been a bit delayed but none-the -less we are finally at a point where we are ready to start construction and this will indeed benefit the children of Antigua and Barbuda and by extension, the nation,” Knight-Alexander said in a recent interview.
Knight-Alexander also detailed the plans for each school by revealing that four new blocks will be added to the SMSS, of which Block A is an administration block with a staffroom, principal’s office, secretary’s office, restrooms, a computer lab and a new kitchen.
He added that Block B “will see the construction of a two-storey building block which will feature a Science Lab on the lower level. It will also feature restrooms for the students on that level and the upper level will feature two classroom spaces; one for technical drawing and the other for home management.”
While, “Block C…is actually the expansion of the existing building block on site where three new classrooms were added to the upper level of that particular existing block”; and “Block D is simply a security booth that will be added to the front of the school property,” he continued.
In addition, Knight Alexander explained that some alterations will be made to an existing floor in the SMSS to accommodate the guidance counsellor’s office as well as the sick bay.
Similarly, the SMGSS will receive four new blocks with the first block featuring a new kitchen and dining space added above the existing cistern.
Its second block will be the home of the administrative block, which will contain a staffroom, principal’s office, secretary’s office, restrooms, four classrooms. The library will also be moved to that block.
Block C will now become the home management and food and nutrition lab while Block D’s food and nutrition lab will be repurposed into a Physics Lab.
The upgrades to the SMSS will be facilitated by an $8.8 million loan under the Basic Education Project 2 Loan Facility, while the SMGSS project will be facilitated by a $9.2 million loan under the Reconstruction and Re-Development Loan Facility.
The projects are expected to be completed within 12 months and will be undertaken by a local company, Harrigan Construction who won the bid against a Barbadian company.