Thursday 2 July, 2020

New Fortress Energy funds restoration of Mitchell Town Primary

Mitchell Town Primary School serves the bauxite community of Clarendon.

Mitchell Town Primary School serves the bauxite community of Clarendon.

While the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which resulted in all schools being closed, New Fortress Energy, founded by American businessman and philanthropist, Wes Edens, funded a robust school refurbishment project in Clarendon.

The energy company, through its foundation, undertook a $11.3 million refurbishment project to restore the 60-plus-year-old Mitchell Town Primary School in Clarendon, in collaboration with the board of directors and management of the school, the Principal and the community.

Since the 1940s Mitchell Town Primary School has been the only primary school directly serving the bauxite community of Clarendon.

Over the years, the school’s physical structure has become dilapidated and in need of repairs to ensure it is a safe, secure and a conducive place for learning and development, New Fortress stated in a press release. 

Despite a lack of resources, the school’s principal, teachers and board have focused efforts on providing the best possible education to ensure that the student body of over 200 students had an opportunity to secure a brighter future for themselves and their families.

After becoming aware of the need for facility repairs, the NFE Foundation stepped in with a commitment to fund the project in order to support education and the community’s development and empowerment.

The renovation project included reconstructing and installing entirely new classrooms and offices, including replacing badly cracked walls, leaking or missing roofs and windows.

The foundation also upgraded sanitation throughout the entire school by installing new male and female bathrooms outfitted with new fixtures.

Additionally, the project involved the construction of a new concrete tuck shop to replace the old wooden structure the school had before.  

The students will also benefit from an entirely new surface for the assembly area and playground, new perimeter fencing and gate and improved landscaping throughout the school complex.

Students will be proud to return to brand new classrooms in September. As part of the refurbishment, NFE Foundation replaced badly cracked walls, replaced missing windows resurfaced classrooms with concrete.

After seeing the newly-refurbished school, Gloria Kennedy, Chairman of the school’s Board of Directors, was overcome by emotion.

She said; “This school holds so much history in Mitchell Town and I have no doubt that it will not only lift the spirit of the students and teachers but also for the wider community. We cannot thank New Fortress Energy enough for restoring hope in our community and in the lives of our children.”

Similarly, Florizel Thompson, Chairman of the Port Community Council in Mitchell Town, said; “As a native of the community who attended this school over 40 years ago, I am overjoyed to see the school returned to being the beacon it once was in the community. This is indeed a historic moment for us thanks to NFE Foundation.”

Echoing similar sentiments, newly-appointed Principal, Mario Palmer, said; “The type of environment in which a child learns has a lot to do with how he or she learns, so I feel a great sense of pride when I see the school now compared to how it was before. I am confident that students will be even more motivated to call Mitchell Town Primary their school and that this is now a space where they can comfortably learn, grow and flourish.”

Meanwhile, Verona Carter, Vice President of Public Affairs at NFE, said; “Helping communities thrive is embedded in our DNA. Our chairman and founder, Wes Edens, believes strongly that education is the engine that drives economies and sustainable growth. So, this project is near and dear to us - the needs were so great, yet the school has remained so resolute with instilling the value of having a good education in their students.”

“There is no doubt that education directly impacts GDP, and so we believe that every child deserves access to a school environment that is conducive to learning so that they can truly shine and reach their fullest potential. This is what this project is really about, we’ve always said we want to leave the communities in which we operate better than how we found them and this is a true testament to that.  We can’t wait to see the students’ excitement in September when they return to this gift of a literally brand-new school that will serve them for generations to com.”

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