The Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) said it is very confident the construction of new school buildings at the Elmore Stoutt High School in Lower Estate campus will be completed by the beginning of the new academic year in September.
This assurance comes amid a heightened sense of eagerness among educational stakeholders to finally relocate the school’s senior students and teachers from the Clarence Thomas Ltd (CTL) building at Pasea Estate.
Floyd Stoutt, one of the lead RDA officers on the project noted the agency has been putting measures in place to ensure it meets the deadline given.
“Again, no one knows what the future holds. We are dealing with COVID
times have been not the best in terms of the shipping industry by itself and I am sure the public is aware of that. But here at the RDA, we are confident that we are putting as many measures as possible in place,” Stoutt said.
“For example, us taking on the procurement of some of these long-lead items. These are things that we are putting in place to meet and try to stay ahead of any of those negative aspects that may try to interfere with the project deliverable day. So, yes, we are pretty confident,” he added.
Stoutt said the RDA shares some of the same concerns as persons regarding the procurement, shipping, and availability of some items that may be crucial to the completion of the buildings. For that reason, he disclosed the RDA has made the decision of maintaining the same windows and doors that are on the existing school buildings.
“We already know we have a good manufacturer and a set of specifications. So, our means of procuring those should not be that extensive. We are in tandem with the ministry in terms of locating what furniture they have at present and what furniture they will need. We are conducting an audit to ensure we can outfit this new facility with all the requirements needed in terms of furnishing. So, we are doing our part, we are diligent, we are putting our best foot forward to ensure we meet our targeted deadlines,” Stoutt added.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education and Youth Affairs, Dr Natalio Wheatley added that his government is prepared to ensure the senior students will return to the Lower Estate campus for the new academic year as the CTL building is not conducive to teaching and learning.
“I want to let persons know that we are laser-focused on getting this project delivered on time and on budget for the benefit of our children, our teachers, and administrators,” Wheatley said.
The construction of the buildings is being undertaken in different phases according to the RDA. It is currently at the pre-qualification of contractors stage.
Stoutt said the RDA will be sending out the designs for tender submission to the qualified contractors by the end of February.
Construction is expected to begin in March and the project is expected to be completed by the end of August. The new buildings are expected to comprise a technical block, two classroom blocks (north and south), and an administrative block.