Regional

New day for Elgin Town

FFP, RBC open $5-m basic school

BY ANTHONY LEWIS Observer West writer

Thursday, December 12, 2013    

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ELGIN TOWN, Hanover — STUDENTS and teachers at the Elgin Town Basic School are now functioning in a better learning environment.

This, as the Royal Bank (RBC) and Food For the Poor (FFP) last week officially opened a new building, constructed at a cost of $5 million, to house the school in the Hanover community.

The facility was constructed under the FFP Jamaica 50 Programme, which seeks to build or upgrade 50 early childhood institutions over 50 months, in celebration of Jamaica's 50 years of Independence.

The building, which can accommodate up to 120 students, was constructed on lands donated by the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ), in close proximity to the old wooden structure.

The new building which has four classrooms, a computer room, an office, a sick bay front and back porch, a fully equipped kitchen and modern sanitary facilities, was painted by employees of RBC Jamaica.

A perimeter fence will later be erected at the school, which is soon to be provided with a play area.

An elated principal, Garnet Dias, said the school which presently has on roll 75 students, previously operated under less than desirable conditions.

"We are celebrating today the opening of the new school. Over the old school, we had a lack of space, we were overcrowded, we had 75 students in one 20' by 30' classroom which was divided by blackboards into three classrooms," she explained.

Executive Director of Food For the Poor Canada, Samantha Mahfood, argued that the principal must be "a great woman" for accommodating so many students in such a small space.

Mahfood also took time out to thank the many persons and organisations who were involved in the construction of the new facility, adding that without their support the work of FFP would not be able to take place.

Managing Director of RBC Bank, Roger Cogle, stated, "We are only too pleased to be partnering with Food For the Poor on this important initiative to build or rehabilitate 50 early childhood institutions in Jamaica," adding that, "providing a safe and imaginative learning environment, which is critical for children at this age, is an important area of focus for us."

Cogle also urged other organisations to "get into action in supporting our children, communities and organisations such as FFP, which will in turn allow for a better future for ourselves, communities and our country."

Food For the Poor has so far completed the construction of 20 early childhood educational institutions across the island under its Jamaica 50 campaign, of which the Elgin Town Basic School is the largest.

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