Saturday 24 October, 2020

Green Pond Infant School undergoing extensive renovation

The Green Pond Infant School in St James is undergoing an extensive facelift as it prepares for certification by the Early Childhood Commission (ECC).

This project comes ahead of the new school year, scheduled for September. Like other local schools, Green Pond has been closed since March this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digicel Foundation identified Green Pond as a part of their ongoing partnership with the ECC to receive renovations. The school was earmarked to begin renovations in March with the goal of helping it to obtain ECC certification – a status which helps schools obtain additional government support. While the pandemic halted teaching instruction at the school, for the Digicel Foundation work continued.

“The Early Childhood Commission approached us and we saw that the school was in urgent need of repair,” said Carnel Campbell, Construction Project Manager at the Digicel Foundation. “Though many things were put on pause due to COVID, this was a project that was essential to push ahead with. We have been working with the ECC and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information (MOEYI) to ensure that the school is safe and up to the standard necessary to serve students in St James come September.” 

The renovation project involves a complete repainting of the school, installation of additional lighting and fans in the building, renovation of bathrooms, and the installation of a play area. The Foundation is also fixing the schools leaking roof, installing a new perimeter fencing upgrading the flooring with tile work.

“It’s a total makeover – and a much-needed one,” declared an excited Venessa Popkin-Addison, Principal of the Green Pond Infant School. “It’s as if we have a brand new school. The classrooms are brighter. We didn’t have any playground at all before, and we are so pleased with the play equipment.”

The school, which had 155 students enrolled prior to COVID, has submitted a proposal to the MOEYI for the reopening in September, including a request for two additional teachers.

Ten classrooms are available with 15 students per class, practising social distancing.

There are two additional teaching areas available if needed. Popkin-Addison is looking forward to confirming plans for scheduled reopening by the end of the month.

ECC field staff are expected to assist with the physical rearranging of the learning environment during August.

 “We would never have been able to do this without Digicel Foundation. The new environment will be an inspiration for the teachers and will enhance their work and confidence. We truly appreciate the assistance,” said Popkin-Addison.

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