From left: Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones; Principal of The Lodge School, Trevor Pilgrim; Acting Project Manager of the Education Project Implementation??Unit, William Jones; Architect Tony Brooks and Chairman of the school’s Board of Management, Patterson Cheltenham, in discussion during a tour of the school. (A. Miller/BGIS)

Work is progressing smoothly on a re-development project, started this year, at The Lodge School in Society, St. John.

This was disclosed today by Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, as he toured the site of the ongoing project.

Expressing satisfaction at the progress of Phase 1, which commenced on March 25, 2011, Mr. Jones said that it was "extremely good" that it was already some 60 to 65 per cent complete.

Noting that the institution was "an exceptionally old school", he said: "In 2008, the Ministry of Education identified this school as requiring major re-development of its infrastructure… This project is costing us some $24 million, quite a substantial sum, especially during these difficult financial times, but we are committed, of course, to safe conditions for our students, for our teachers and all other persons in the partnership of education in Barbados. And, that is why we are expending these sums here at the Lodge School."

He continued: "This school has quite a proud history of its architecture as well. Some of these buildings are listed buildings and, therefore, we had to take that into consideration, as we went about doing the re-development here at the Lodge School."

It was revealed that as part of the exercise there would be a "major auditorium" so that the students could assemble in one space.?? He explained: "We have about 1,096 students here now making it, I believe, the second or third largest school but I am not going to say to you that it is going to remain at that number of students since we have to look at the optimum size for the operation of any secondary school because the issues of discipline and maintaining [that] discipline would become absolutely important."

Praise was attributed to the Principal, Trevor Pilgrim; his Deputy Vasco Dash and the Board of Management for having maintained the integrity and discipline of the school given the ongoing project. The Minister noted: "We thought that there were going to be challenges in the re-development vis-??-vis the children [being] present as well, but we have not encountered any difficulty. And, there was some adjustment to the time flows of students and some provision of temporary facilities to accommodate any disruptions in the numbers so things have gone well thus far."

Meanwhile, Acting Project Manager of the Education Project Implementation Unit, William Jones, revealed that the first phase would finish by the end of January 2012, while the entire project was slated for completion by June 2013.?? According to him, the work in this phase will comprise 27 classrooms, two laboratories for electronics and technical drawing as well as a staff room.

He noted too that the second phase would feature the refurbishment of the buildings to the southern boundary which include the science laboratories. "The prefabricated buildings will be converted to accommodate these activities. Phase Three will entail renovations to the remaining buildings," the project manager said.

While speaking on the new assembly hall, Mr. Jones revealed that arrangements were being made to acquire approximately 95,000 sq ft of land on the south eastern boundary of the compound from Guinea Estates Limited for that purpose.

The contract for the works, titled the Redevelopment of The Lodge School, was awarded to Innotech Services Inc for an amount of Bds$24,139,262.18 with a completion period of 113 weeks.


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