(CMR) With works on several sections of the John Gray High School near completion, the school is expected to have a phased opening in August 2021 and a full opening for the 2022 academic year.
“We are optimistic that we will have all students and all staff occupying the entire new John Gray High School campus by the beginning of the 2022 Academic school year,” said Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, Minister for Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands (MEYSAL).
McAlpine Limited, the local company, contracted to build the new John Gray High School facility, hosted a site inspection tour with a delegation of officials from the MEYSAL last week.
“We have had a wonderful opportunity to do another tour of the new John Gray High School, and I am extremely delighted to witness the evolution… now being able to touch the mortar and see those plans become a fast reality. It is really important that we capture spaces that are necessary for teachers to deliver their subject areas effectively and where our students have the resources to successfully progress through our school system and graduate as productive citizens,” O’Connor-Connolly said following the tour.
Project Manager Steve Gaffing who led the tour also provided a progress report on seven different sectors within three different construction phases.
The renovation and refurbishment of the existing buildings in Sectors 1, 5, and 6 are nearing completion in anticipation of their phased opening in August 2021.
Sector 1 contains the main entrance, administration offices, a health center, kitchen, dining area, and a counseling/nurturing area which will have a secure open area for students and staff as they arrive.
Sector 5 contains technology workshop areas, with technical class areas on the ground floor and home economics classes on the second floor. Notably, there will be robotics, clothing, textiles, food, design, and building/construction technology labs, as well as an automotive shop containing vehicle hoists, equipment, and machinery for training and development in vehicle maintenance.
Sector 6 contains a new performing arts center complete with a dance and drama studio, a music room, a steelpan room, and a double-purpose performance theatre/assembly hall with retractable seating.
“I am a firm believer in nation-building, and with that, the absolute necessity for our children to be empowered in foundational and core subjects, I was particularly excited to see the very necessary inclusion of the facilities for the Arts and the technical labs. We currently have students excelling in these areas and need the resources to be able to reach their full potential,” Minister O’Connor-Connolly said.
The construction of a new interlink building in Sectors 2, 3, and 4 is progressing well. Sectors 2, 3, and 4 link together the three pre-existing buildings. The new building houses the main dining hall, library, classrooms for core subjects, and a faculty staff room to facilitate teachers being among the students at all times.
Two other major design features are the library, the “heart” and centerpiece of the new school, and the informal collaboration staircases, which will provide three multi-purpose staircases between levels 1 and 2, offering students opportunities for seating, meetings, and collaboration.
O’Connor-Connolly was also keen to see design improvements that will provide better staff resources to deliver instruction and supervision.
“I am excited to see a truly purpose-built school with improvements such as the inclusion of several open and green spaces. Staff will have offices at strategic locations across the school to aid with passive supervision. There are also clearer lines of visibility which will only help staff to identify and address issues such as bullying. ” she added.
Part of the delegation was the current Principal of John Gray High School, Jonathan Clark, who has been working closely with project managers to complete the building.
“Through stakeholder engagement, we have looked at the best of the past and global best-practices. Our students and staff have been involved at all stages. They see the plans and visit the construction site. It has been fantastic to see our ideas come into fruition. The new school and systems are designed to maximize learning time and minimize transition time between lessons, with outstanding specialist facilities that support world-class teaching and learning of a new curriculum with a stronger STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) focus. While I have been pleased with how teachers have been able to work in our current accommodations, it has been difficult for a number of years. This new facility gives us an opportunity to teach the curriculum as it is designed to be taught, without any limitations,” asserted Principal Clark.