Joy as new buildings at Harbour View Primary handed over


Joy as new buildings at Harbour View Primary handed over

Saturday, October 19, 2019

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THE Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund has completed work on two new buildings started seven years ago at Harbour View Primary School in Kingston.

At the official opening Thursday, staff and students were elated and appreciative of the effort.

Principal Lawrence Wright said that he decided to begin work on the classrooms but had to eventually seek help after money ran out.

“We initially started in 2012 but approached CHASE in 2018, so it has been a seven-year journey.

“When we looked at how we had classrooms with blackboard partitions in this day and age, with the disturbance of noise from the other classes, which affects learning, we decided that the best way to prepare our children for proper education is through having enclosed rooms and I decided to build four classrooms,” the principal said.

He said the school also received assistance from the Ministry of Education and it was when that money ran out, which in turn caused operations to cease for over a year, that he approached the CHASE Fund.

Wright also said that he has two additional classrooms that he is hoping to build.

Hilary Coulton, public relations and administrative manager at CHASE Fund, who was in attendance yesterday, said that early childhood education is a part of the mandate of the CHASE Fund and so the decision to help the school was easy.

“The other areas we (CHASE Fund) look at are culture, health, arts, and sports. Twenty-five per cent of our resources are spent on education. To date, we have spent $5 billion since inception in 2002, upgrading early childhood facilities, doing scholarships for practitioners, conducting health screenings for early childhood children, and we have been supporting programmes for special needs students in terms of training teachers and providing facilities with ramps, etc,“ said Coulton.

She continued: “Harbour View came to us with a project that had been started by fund-raising efforts by the school but could not complete. They had been trying to do it for years and of course, it was a good project to try and complete the grades one through to three [classrooms] to give the younger students a designated space of their own. As you can see, the bathroom is in the classroom so the students are not really out of the sight of the teachers.

“We offer assistance right across the island, as we are an agency under the Office of the Prime Minister mandated to help in these areas. In other schools we have built kitchens and sick bays. It's a holistic approach to raise the standards of the facilities and the learning experience for students,” she said.

Chanelle Simmonds, a grade three teacher at the school, said: “It's a great feeling being in a new space. It's an exhilarating feeling. We have a wide, open space and the children enjoy being around here because prior to this, the noise would travel because we only had the chalkboards as partitions.”

Another teacher, Angela Nichol, who was clearly excited, told the Jamaica Observer that the school was coming up short on space and it was the principal who eventually came up with the idea to build new classrooms.

“Harbour View Primary has a number of children coming to the school and we realised we were coming short on space. The principal wanted us to have an auditorium and the present auditorium was being used as a classroom. He did not like that and so he decided that with the space around the back of the school we could erect a building,” she said.

The Harbour View Primary School caters to students from communities such as Harbour View, Bull Bay, Port Royal and surrounding communities.

– Shanae Stewart

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