New high school for West Bay

Government officials broke ground for the future home of the Beulah Smith High School in West Bay Friday.

Named after a prominent West Bay educator, the facilities will also be open to members of the community and serve as an adult training centre.

Slated to open in September 2007, along with the new high school in Frank Sound, the West Bay School is located on Crown land surrounding the cricket oval and bordering the John A Cumber Primary School.

Education Minister Roy Bodden said the concept is one of a community school, offering buildings and other resources that can be shared with the community.

The school will also take advantage of community facilities already on site such as the cricket oval and the Ed Bush Playing field across the street.

Mr. Bodden said the two new high schools are part of the government’s efforts to reform secondary education in these islands.

He said government had been convinced for some time – and certainly emanating out of the post-Ivan experience – that smaller, more manageable enrolment numbers coupled with smaller classes and year groups not only made for improved behaviour but improved academic performance as well.

He added the new high schools will also help ease traffic congestion caused by the country’s two high schools being centralised in George Town.

Chief Education officer Nayda Flatley said the department had sought and gained government’s approval for the redevelopment of John Gray High School.

‘The Ministry is also committed to preparing strategic plans for primary school facilities and for facilities in Cayman Brac,’ she said.

Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush said the school was a commitment to reduce class sizes, enhance education and boost community moral.

The Governor, Mr. Bruce Dinwiddy, said it was unfortunate that he would not be here to see the completion of the school, but his spirit would be with the people, and he wished all the children who studied there the best in the future.