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HomeNewsArchivesAMBITIOUS SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM BEGINS

AMBITIOUS SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM BEGINS

After being criticized for a year by students, teachers and parents over conditions at the territory’s schools, particularly St. Croix’s Central High School, the Department of Education unveiled an ambitious construction program Tuesday at the Big Island’s original secondary school.
Some $6.5 million will be spent, mostly to strengthen Central and Charlotte Amalie High Schools against hurricanes and earthquakes, said Education Commissioner Ruby Simmonds. Of the $6.5 million total, the V.I. government contributed $650,000. The bulk of the funding is from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Additionally, more than $1.1 million is being spent to construct a new administration building at 36-year-old Central High and to expand the current library, which shares the same building. Once the new administration building is completed, at a cost of $482,628, the old structure will be get a $637,216 renovation that will accommodate a new library. Funding for the project is from Public Finance Authority bond proceeds and an appropriation from the Legislature, Simmonds said.
The library expansion was undertaken after the Central States Accreditation Board said the school would lose its accreditation if the work were not done. The current library was built to serve some 700 students. Central’s student body is now 1,700, according to Assistant Principal Regina Williams.
"If we don’t upgrade the library, the accreditation could be in jeopardy," Simmonds said.
Simmonds said the structural improvement projects at Central are expected to cost more than $2.6 million, including plumbing and electrical work, new roofs on the nursing and vocational education buildings, the music suite and gymnasium, cafeteria, the JROTC building and classroom wings 200 through 900.
The aim is to have all the work completed by the beginning of the new school year on Aug. 25, Simmonds said.
"Our goal for the summer is to have all the schools in the territory in much better shape than they are in now," she said.
As for St. Croix’s Elena Christian Jr. High School, which was forced into double sessions after an entire wing was condemned following last November’s Hurricane Lenny, Simmonds said requests for proposals have been circulated. It is expected that those renovations, too, will be completed by Aug. 25.
"We expect to have that work done so we don’t have double sessions," Simmonds said. "Double sessions aren’t good for instruction."

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After being criticized for a year by students, teachers and parents over conditions at the territory’s schools, particularly St. Croix’s Central High School, the Department of Education unveiled an ambitious construction program Tuesday at the Big Island’s original secondary school.
Some $6.5 million will be spent, mostly to strengthen Central and Charlotte Amalie High Schools against hurricanes and earthquakes, said Education Commissioner Ruby Simmonds. Of the $6.5 million total, the V.I. government contributed $650,000. The bulk of the funding is from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Additionally, more than $1.1 million is being spent to construct a new administration building at 36-year-old Central High and to expand the current library, which shares the same building. Once the new administration building is completed, at a cost of $482,628, the old structure will be get a $637,216 renovation that will accommodate a new library. Funding for the project is from Public Finance Authority bond proceeds and an appropriation from the Legislature, Simmonds said.
The library expansion was undertaken after the Central States Accreditation Board said the school would lose its accreditation if the work were not done. The current library was built to serve some 700 students. Central’s student body is now 1,700, according to Assistant Principal Regina Williams.
"If we don’t upgrade the library, the accreditation could be in jeopardy," Simmonds said.
Simmonds said the structural improvement projects at Central are expected to cost more than $2.6 million, including plumbing and electrical work, new roofs on the nursing and vocational education buildings, the music suite and gymnasium, cafeteria, the JROTC building and classroom wings 200 through 900.
The aim is to have all the work completed by the beginning of the new school year on Aug. 25, Simmonds said.
"Our goal for the summer is to have all the schools in the territory in much better shape than they are in now," she said.
As for St. Croix’s Elena Christian Jr. High School, which was forced into double sessions after an entire wing was condemned following last November’s Hurricane Lenny, Simmonds said requests for proposals have been circulated. It is expected that those renovations, too, will be completed by Aug. 25.
"We expect to have that work done so we don’t have double sessions," Simmonds said. "Double sessions aren’t good for instruction."