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More classrooms for Belmont Academy

Wednesday, February 12, 2014    

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A $14.9-million contract has been signed for the construction of five additional classrooms at Westmoreland-based Belmont Academy.

The project, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of March, will allow for an additional intake of grade seven students come the start of the new school year in September. The signing took place last Thursday at the institution.

Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister and Member of Parliament for Eastern Westmoreland Luther Buchanan, who was among the signatories, said he was "extremely elated" at the implementation of the project, which will not only benefit students from Belmont, but also Whitehouse and Cave districts.

"It is what we need to continue our programme of development, because education is the only vehicle we can use to bring our country from poverty," he stated.

Ministry of Education director for Region 4, Hillary Foster, said that the project will be closely monitored by a technical team from the region. She said that prefabricated technology is being applied in the construction process, which will prove cost-effective.

Meanwhile, Regional Building Officer Marlon Grinion explained that the school was originally built with further expansion in mind, so the construction of the five new classrooms is just the start of another phase of work on the institution.

He said that the prefabricated design, which will be used in the expansion project, will lead to savings of some $23 million over the original design, which called for reinforced concrete.

In addition to being cost-effective, Grinion said that the use of the prefabricated material will also reduce construction time.

Other signatories to the contract included school principal Rayon Simpson; Board Chairman Michael Jackson; and project manager at Tropical Metal Products Limited, Patrick McKenzie.

— JIS

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