Gov't to spend $120m on second campus for Anchovy High
THE Government will be spending $120 million to transform the facility in Montpelier, St James, where Haitian refugees were housed, into a second campus for Anchovy High School.
Education Minister Ronald Thwaites, in addressing a ceremony at the Montpelier site where the announcement was made last Friday, said the upgrading work is to be completed in time to accommodate the first set of students by September or October of this year.
The facility, which was constructed in the late 1970s, is among a number of educational institutions donated to Jamaica by the Cuban Government. The others are Jose Marti High School in St Catherine; Garvey Maceo High in Clarendon; and the GC Foster College of Physical Education in Spanish Town, St Catherine.
Initially, the Montpelier facility was built as an agricultural school, but was later used as a base for members of the Jamaica Defence Force before it became a centre where Haitian refugees were housed ahead of their return to their country.
Minister Thwaites welcomed the move to return the facility to the education sector for which it was built, pointing out that the Government is on a mission to create more and better places for the nation's students.
The minister said the Government is creating new and better schools using its own resources. "We are not borrowing anybody else's money to do it...we are saying we must do better with what we have so that our children and the next generation can come out better than us in our generation," he stated.
The education minister said the process towards building more and better schools will continue in a few weeks with projects due to start in central Jamaica, and in the inner-city areas of Kingston.
"We have found a number of buildings which were intended for schools and have been used for everything else rather than the purpose for which they were built. This year, despite all of the financial difficulties that we have to face, 42 schools will have additional classroom spaces added to them with funds from this budget courtesy of the dedication of the prime minister, and the Government," he said.
The Montpelier facility, which will be known as Campus two of the Anchovy High School, will initially accommodate grades seven and eight students. In the future, students from grade nine will also be accommodated. It is proposed that the new campus should become a centre of excellence in St James.
There are currently 2,200 students attending Anchovy High School. When the new campus comes on board the shift system that currently obtains at the institution, will be discontinued.