New Lewis Yard ' to open on time'
Freeport News Reporter
The Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald and a number of officials toured the new Lewis Yard Primary School which was relocated to the St. Vincent de Paul church grounds on Thursday.
Fitzgerald was pleased with the progress of the facilities which had to be completely redone with a price tag of about half a million dollars.
He thanked the corporate citizens for their assistance in this project.
"I just want to start by saying how excited and elated we are about the work that is going on here and the fact that we are able to have this school ready for the Lewis Yard transfer of students" said Fitzgerald.
"It was a great collaborative effort. I want to first of all personally thank the representatives of BORCO and that company for the contribution they made; to the Grand Bahama Port Authority and the Grand Bahama Power Company.
"As you can see, the work when we came here three weeks ago it was questionable whether or not it would be finished in time for school but we are pleased that the contractor Mr. McDonald has been working 24/7 in order to get it to the point where we are convinced that it will be up-and-running and ready for opening of school week after next."
He also thanked the Ministry of Grand Bahama and the Ministry of Works for the work they have put in.
The Minister said that without a collaborative effort they would not have been able to finish the work.
The Principal Michael Rolle is looking forward to the start of the school year in their new facilities. He is expecting some 150-200 students.
Contractor Patrick McDonald said the construction was 90 percent done and would be ready for hand- over by Tuesday. He noted that they have hired many persons from the area for the work. He said over the past three weeks they have worked 12-14 hour work days on theis project.
Sandra Edgecombe, assistant director in the Ministry of Education, said it is a proud moment for them with the movement of the Lewis Yard Primary School to the new premises.
She said parents and teachers are elated with the movement of the school, as she noted that in the past it seemed as if every other day the school had to be closed because of the foul industrial odors.
"So they know now that they can be at work and their children are safe, and their children are breathing cleaner air," said Edgecombe of the parents. "There is an excitement and there has not been any complaints, all of the responses have been positive and we are glad that from November to March of this school year we won't have all the challenges that we have had in the past."
She said she envisions the population of the school increasing after the move, as she noted that the classrooms are quite large.
President of the Bahamas Union of Teachers Belinda Wilson said she was pleased the Minister made an effort to include the union to join his team to look at this site.
"We have spent so much time and effort coming out to Lewis Yard because of the odor and I know our teachers are excited," said Wilson. "They are already hitting up Facebook. They are really happy.
"And I must say five years ago I was here with a former Minister and this was a recommendation from the union to move Lewis Yard, so I'm doubly happy today. I?want to say to the Minister, if you continue to include the union you would be surprised at the recommendations we would give and the resolutions we could arrive at in a timely and amicable manner.
"Teachers at Lewis Yard, you have your $700, you have your medical insurance, you got your salary increase, your big classes, all kinds of computers, come in and work hard."
Charles Wildgoose, president of the Bahamas Educators Managerial Union, also thanked the Minister for inviting his union on the school tour.
"This is the first time a Minister of Education has invited our union to tour the schools at the beginning of school year, so I want to compliment this minister for doing this," he said. "We represent educational managers and I've spoken with the principal of this school, Mrs Edgecombe as Superintendent, and both of them are really pleased by what's going on here, and I am also pleased. I'm sure all educational managers are all duly pleased."
© 2012 The Freeport News