He said following discussion with residents of that island, he brought an architect and an engineer to the location and the matter was discussed and it was agreed that the new facility would move.
“The existing location, there was a $1.5 million difference. The hillside was $1.5 million more than the flat, and that was not considering the drainage and all the fill that would have to take place. So when you really look at the cost, it would have ended up being in the same range,” he said on Thursday, October 22, 2020, during a meeting on the island.
He said in addition to that, putting the school on the hillside would allow the school to be able to continue at the existing location, “So from a logistics standpoint, it made sense.”
Another suggestion coming from the community which was strong was “being able to use the fill from up on the hillside to be able to fill in the existing location and use that area as a recreation field.”
“The most important factor in all of the factors was that you the people wanted to see the school up on the hillside. So given those factors, it would be the best choice to put it on the hillside,” he stated, to thunderous applause from residents of Jost van Dyke.
Minister for Education Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries, and Agriculture, Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (D7) has announced that there has been a change of plans which will see the new Jost van Dyke Primary school constructed on the hillside.
Computer lab and library facility at the school's current location.
Students of the Jost van Dyke Primary.
Meanwhile, the Minister said plans are in motion with the design of the new educational facility.
“The Minister of Finance [Hon. Premier Andrew A. Fahie (R1)] has been working with me along with our donors from Soggy Dollar who has generously raised a quantity of money to be able to contribute towards the project. We also have another donor that the Government, the Premier, the Minister of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration (Hon. Vincent O. Wheatley (R9) has to been able to make contact with to be able to push this project forward, and of course, the government will do its part,” he remarked.
As it relates to the abovementioned fundraiser, he said back in August 2019, that in January 2018, a benefit concert was held in New York at Radio City Music Hall featuring the Dave Matthews Band, among other top artists.
“This concert along with other donations raised $400,000 towards the rebuild of the Jost Van Dyke Primary school,” he said at the time in the House of Assembly.
He also said, his ministry was holding talks with the Caribbean Development Bank to finance the rebuilding of the school.
No projected date was given for the commencement of the school which sustained damages during the 2017 weather events, nor was the total amount of money needed to rebuild the school revealed.