MONTEGO BAY, St James - GROUND is expected to be broken in August on prime lands in the Rose Hall area — donated by the Rose Hall Development Company — for the construction of a new facility to house the Naz Children’s Centre.
Last week, Digicel Foundation announced that it was donating $31million towards the construction of the institution, while Bob Lauter — owner of Master Spas, a hot tub company located in Indiana — is contributing US $150,000.
Construction for the facility, expected to cost more that $32 million, is scheduled for completion by year-end.
The announcement was made at Naz’s Evening of Excellence held at the Rose Hall Great House last week Tuesday.
The school, which is now located in Ironshore, St James, caters to 42 students and is expected to house at least 44 more when the new facility is complete.
Naz Children’s Centre is a mixed-ability school that started as a homework centre in 2005, but due to the demand for its services, it blossomed into a fully functional school.
The educational institution caters to average and above average learners, international students who speak English as a second language, as well as students with learning disability and other challenges, including down’s syndrome, autism, learning delays and cerebral palsy.
Addressing a captive audience during Naz’s Evening of Excellence Principal of the school Alixann Narcisse- Campbell shared how Naz came into existence.
“The Naz idea was born from a friend expressing the need for a quality after-care institution in Montego Bay. She approached many people before finding a place that was later called Naz,” she recalled.
But as the demand for the services provided at the facility grew, it became clear that the institution needed a new home.
With little funds to undertake such a expansion programme, the school embarked on a drive to secure the necessary funding.
“I knocked on so many doors... but the moment I walked into the Digicel Foundation boardroom, I knew that this was it, we were finally going to have our dream come true,” said an elated Narcisse- Campbell.
Executive Director at Digicel Foundation Samantha Chantrelle spoke about the need for more schools that focus on children with special needs.
“Institutions like Naz are severely lacking in Jamaica despite the need; a need so great that Naz has outgrown its current location,” she argued.
“We at Digicel Foundation share in Naz’s belief in the intrinsic value of all our children. We too feel that every child deserves a place to maximise their full potential.”