AFTER several years of planning and construction work, the new University of the West Indies Vice-Chancellor Building is open for business.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller cut the ribbon on the doors to the building — officially dubbed the UWI Regional Headquarters — on June 27.
Located opposite the Queen's Way entrance to the university's Mona campus, the 70,000-square foot, two-storey building is one of the more recent construction projects completed by the institution.
It cost US$12 million, with funding provided primarily through a US$8.25-million loan and US$500,000 grant, both from the Caribbean Development Bank. Carib Cement donated US$300,000 worth of cement.
The building, according to Vice-Chancellor E Nigel Harris, in his address, will be the epicentre of most administrative functions for the regional institution, including "the central administration co-ordinating the creation and implementation of a common strategic plan, common region-wide policies, oversight of the university's finances, audit management [as well as] quality assurance of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes".
"There are several central administrative offices that carry out these functions, but to date, there has been no single facility that houses them; many were scattered in disparate locations on the Mona Campus," Harris noted.
Meanwhile, Simpson Miller said the opening of the new building was a landmark achievement that coincides not with the commemoration of Jamaica's 50th anniversary of Independence, but also the 50th anniversary of the UWI, Mona campus, which began operations in 1962 as the University College of the West Indies.