Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw (third from left), looking over plans for the new creative arts facility at Parkinson Memorial today while on a tour of the school with ministry officials and representatives of Goddards Enterprises Limited. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

The Parkinson Memorial School is gaining a new creative arts facility, thanks to Goddard Enterprises Limited (GEL).

Work has started on the formerly condemned Block B building to transform it into a Centre of Excellence for the Arts. It will feature, among other things, three theatres; three music computer labs, and a visual arts classroom. In the initial phase, the facility will cater to students only, and will be opened to creatives outside of the school, in due course.

The project was officially launched this morning at the school grounds, The Pine, St. Michael, and was followed by a short tour of the area by Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training, Santia Bradshaw, and other officials from the Ministry; Principal, Ian Holder; and representatives of GEL.

Minister Bradshaw expressed her gratitude to the Barbadian company, pointing out that such a facility had been envisaged for some time.  

She explained that the decision to utilise the building, which once housed 16 classrooms, was based on the fact that the school needed to have a space to receive the growing number of students, especially those interested in entertainment and the creative arts.

“…And we had a situation where, without having the additional space at this institution it meant that Mr. Holder and his team who were trying to ensure that students were engaged in the music industry did not have the appropriate space, equipment or resources,” she said.

The Education Minister added that overtime, the teachers managed to coordinate an excellent music programme, which went beyond talent and sought to educate students on the business aspect of the entertainment industry. 

The refurbishment project will feature, among other things, three theatres, three music computer labs, and a visual arts classroom. It will cost BDS$1.2 million and is expected to be completed in six months. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

“It was from watching a number of those productions that I certainly saw the potential of what was here at this school,” Ms. Bradshaw stated. She said Government had gone about seeking funding for the undertaking, and welcomed the assistance of GEL, which adopted the school in 2018.

“We were fortunate that the Goddard group already had a foothold in this institution, and therefore trying to find corporate sponsorship to be able to assist in bringing about the vision that had been started by teachers and former principals, led us to a point where we could call on the Goddard group in order to share the vision on what we wanted to do,” Minister Bradshaw stated, as she encouraged other private entities to invest in the education sector.

Welcoming the project’s launch, Mr. Holder expressed optimism about the prospects for students, stating: “This block is going to provide opportunities for our students, with respect to certification and career.”

Chairman of Goddard Enterprises Limited, Charles Herbert, said the company was pleased to take the lead in this refurbishment project, as it was seeking to expand its relationship with the school. 

The BDS$1.2 million project is expected to be completed in approximately six months.

nya.phillips@barbados.gov.bb

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