Projects bring more costs

Major public construction projects
including two new high schools and a new government office building
will add more costs in the next government budget as well as the current
budget, according to estimates released by ruling United Democratic Party
officials last week.

Health Minister Mark Scotland,
speaking at a public meeting last Tuesday, said government still had to pay
$100 million toward the construction of the new John Gray and Clifton Hunter
high school projects.

Those costs would be spread over
both the current budget year, which ends on 30 June, and the next budget, which
the government will propose on 30 April.

Some costs that were expected to be
paid this year for the schools’ construction had to be deferred largely because
of a dispute with the former project contractor, Tom Jones International, which
forced a more than two-month delay in site works.

The total construction costs of the
two schools had previously been estimated at $120 million, but those expenses
were expected to rise because the construction budget did not include the
fit out for the inside of the school buildings – fixtures, furniture and the

On Thursday, Premier McKeeva Bush
said at least an additional $15 million would have to be spent on road works to
accommodate the new government office building on Elgin Avenue.

The $85 million building is
expected to house the majority of Cayman’s government departments, as well as
the governor’s office. 

“When that building is
finished, we’re going to need a road to Shedden Road and we’re going to have to
widen Elgin Avenue,”
Mr. Bush told the Legislative Assembly on Thursday. 

In addition to
the government office building, the new Walkers law firm office building
on Elgin is
expected to bring extra traffic into the area once it opens.  

Specific plans about the road
widening or construction projects have not been released.  

 National Roads Authority
officials have a “conceptual” plan for a 50-foot wide road connecting Elgin Avenue and Shedden Road,
according to Deputy Managing Director Edward Howard. 

The initial proposal thought to use
land adjacent to Cricket Square
on the Elgin Avenue
side and Rohelio’s Car Wash on the other.

“The previous government was
non-committal towards the project,” Mr. Howard said in an e-mailed statement.  

Mr. Howard said the current ruling
government is aware of the plans, but no formal talks about gazetting, design
or engineering have taken place.

“I believe, however, with the
impending opening of the new government office building that this issue will
resurface shortly and with greater priority,” Mr. Howard said.