Deals signed for building of $12m Holmes Rock Junior High School

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September 09, 2016


Prime Minister Perry Christie helps to dig the first shovel full of dirt at the ground breaking ceremony for a new junior high school in Holmes Rock, Grand Bahama.

TWO government contracts - worth $12m - were signed for construction of a new junior high school in Holmes Rock on Thursday, fulfilling a ten-year promise to residents in West Grand Bahama.

The school is expected to be finished in 18 months and will cater to students graduating from the West End Primary and Holmes Rock Primary Schools.

Prime Minister Perry Christie attended the groundbreaking ceremony on the land, which was acquired by government from the Waugh family.

Also attending were Deputy Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis, Education Minister Jerome Fitzgerald, Minister of Tourism and MP for West Grand Bahama Obie Wilchcombe, Minister for Grand Bahama Dr Michael Darville and Glenys Hanna Martin, minister of transport and aviation.

Two contracts were signed with two contractors - Brickhouse Construction and RCL Construction – to build the school.

Mr. Christie noted that Mr. Wilchcombe had envisioned a school a long time ago and promised residents that one would be built there.

“I heard Obie Wilchcombe for two elections standing on a platform promising this school,” Mr. Christie said. “And when I started the beginning of our term in 2012 I reminded him and the Cabinet of…listening to him promise this school. “With government it is never easy in a country where we are a chain of islands spread over 100,000 square miles of ocean.”

The prime minister said every child in every part of the Bahamas deserves an opportunity to be the best they can be by getting an education in good schools provided by central government.

Mr. Davis said the new school would be built identical to the Sister Mary Patricia Russell Junior High School in Freeport.

He said that after careful consideration of the tendered amount, a decision was taken to divide the project into two equal components.

“The contracts have been costed at VAT-inclusive base sums of $5,761,735 each,” Mr. Davis, minister of works, said. “Combined, therefore, the base project cost is $11,523,470. We have also set aside a provisional sum of $400,000 for statutory utilities for each contract.”

Brickhouse Construction will build a two-story, 28,108 sq ft structure in the main building area, comprising an administration block, staff room and support spaces, student sick bay, computer classroom, library, 16 classrooms, covered walkways, four fire stairwells, and electrical rooms.

RCL will build a two-story, 10,095 sq ft structure in the main building area, which will comprise eight classrooms, four student restroom blocks, covered walkways and breezeways adjacent to classrooms, in addition to other works.

Mr. Davis said six construction companies were invited to tender bids for the project. He said three did not respond to the invitations and tenders were opened at the Tenders Board in July 2015.

“This school represents another plank in the robust package of capital investment projects delivered to Grand Bahama,” he said, also recalling contracts executed for Fishing Hole Road, and a seawall at Smith’s Point.

Mr. Christie said the government is considering naming the school after a resident in the area.

He stressed that while it is good to build a new school, the quality of education that takes place within the institution is more important.

“You judge the school on how it influences the mind of the children,” he said.

Mr. Christie said the Progressive Liberal Party has delivered on its promises to Grand Bahama.

“To citizens you have to make the determination when you look at people like me and them, and decide whether or not we are good for you: Did we promise this school? The answer is yes. Are we delivering this school? The answer is yes. Did we promise better health facilities? The answer is yes. Are we delivering the better health facilities? The answer is yes.”

Referring to the Fishing Hole Road, he said: “Government after government (were) looking at it, knowing it has to be changed and improved, knowing it could cause loss of life, and just watching it. We promised we would do something about it, and, yes, we did.”

Mr. Christie also said that the government has extended duty-free privileges in east and west Grand Bahama.

“We said we will somehow equalise the difference that existed between people who live in Freeport and in the east and the west. We have given the people in the east and west an opportunity to build a home and expand a business with duty free provisions in place. There is still much more to be done,” he said.

By Denise Maycock, Tribune Freeport Reporter

Click here to read more at The Tribune

News date : 09/09/2016    Category : Business, Education, Tribune Stories

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