Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd said yesterday the government will spend more than $16 million on school repairs across The Bahamas this summer.
While contributing to the House of Assembly, Lloyd said, “During the summer of 2019, critical repairs were carried out and completed at nine public schools in New Providence with the exception of one school: C. R. Walker Senior High School.
“Repairs are currently being done at the school, and are projected to be completed in time for the reopening of this upcoming school year. Schools which were completed during the summer of 2019 include: D.W. Davis Junior High, H.O. Nash Junior High, C.W. Sawyer Primary School, Government High, S.C. McPherson, C.I. Gibson Senior High, and C.H. Reeves Junior High.
“Meantime, Mr. Speaker, this year, summer school repairs on New Providence are projected at an estimated cost of $12 million. This will include works on 49 primary and high schools and 11 libraries.
“Summer repairs on the Family Islands are estimated at $4,850,000. This includes 97 primary, high and all-age schools.
“Recent expansions were completed at seven schools including C.H. Reeves Junior High, North Eleuthera High, Claridge Primary, Eva Hilton Primary, A. F. Adderley Junior High School, North Andros High, and Adelaide Primary Preschool.
“Among the expansions were new classrooms, art rooms, computer, and science labs.”
Lloyd stressed that students are “undoubtedly of paramount importance”.
He said the government understands the “significance” of providing a physical environment conducive to educational growth.
“To this end, we have embarked on several ongoing capital works projects in which a number of schools are being renovated and repaired accordingly,” Lloyd said.
“Work is currently underway on the following schools and completion is forecasted between January and September 2021: Holmes Rock Junior High School, Lowe Sound Primary School, Staniel Cay All-Age School, and Eva Hilton Primary Sporting Complex.”
The minister said four additional preschool classrooms were constructed at the Thelma Gibson Primary School in June 2019.
Lloyd pointed to the vast amount of damage sustained to schools on Abaco and Grand Bahama in early-September as a result of Hurricane Dorian — the strongest storm on record to hit The Bahamas.
“In this vein, repairs and reconstruction on Abaco and Grand Bahama are on-going,” he said.
“The total cost of work on Abaco is estimated to the tune of $12,665,096.86. Work on Grand Bahama is estimated at a cost of $5,294,650.85.”
He said Treasure Cay Primary School, which is located on Abaco, will be rebuilt in the wake of Dorian.
This will cost $6 million, according to Lloyd.
The education minister said the government will establish East Grand Bahama Comprehensive School, which will accommodate students from the four schools that were severely damaged by Dorian; those schools include Freetown Primary, High Rock Primary, McClean’s Town Junior High and Sweeting’s Cay All-Age School.
He said this building will also be used as a hurricane shelter.
Lloyd said the government will also construct a “comprehensive school” on Inagua at a cost of $8.3 million.
He added that the government will also rebuild the George Town Primary School at a cost of $8 million.