Junior high and high school students throughout the territory will soon be powering on their microscopes in new state of the art science labs, which are set to open in early October, V.I. Education Commissioner LaVerne Terry announced Friday in a press release.
The Education Department’s latest project made quick use of approximately $3 million in State Fiscal Stabilization Funds made available through the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Following the stimulus guidelines, the department was required to comply with stringent procurement processes and had to properly monitor and account for the money in order for the project to move forward.
Monthly reports were sent to the V.I. Office of Economic Opportunity, while quarterly reports were sent directly to the federal government, according to department officials.
On site planning for the new science classrooms began in August 2010, and meetings were held with all participating school principals, science teachers and department chairs to determine what kind of equipment and specific furnishings were needed.
“It was important for us to give our students the opportunity to learn in the most modern and well-equipped settings,” Terry said.
The refurbished classrooms have been customized to enhance the students’ learning experience, providing them with new fume hoods, lab furniture, chemical resistant surfaces and customized storage cabinets, along with various accessories such as vandal resistant fixtures.
Included in the project were: Addelita Cancryn Junior High School, Bertha C. Boschulte Middle School, Charlotte Amalie High School, Ivanna Eudora Kean High School and the Julius Sprauve School on St. Thomas-St. John, along with Arthur A. Richards Junior High School, St. Croix Central High School, Educational Complex, Elena Christian Junior High School and John H. Woodson Junior High School on St. Croix.
“There was definitely a need for an upgrade to the existing school science labs, and this was our opportunity to make it happen,” said Stacy George, the department’s project manager. “Overall, the classrooms will be more functional, and the students will have access to better technology and equipment that was not accessible before.”
Education will be unveiling its new classrooms during events tentatively scheduled for Oct. 6 at Charlotte Amalie High School on St. Thomas and Oct. 28 at Arthur A. Richards Junior High School on St. Croix. Final dates will be released shortly.