Church hall to serve as hurricane shelter

Category 5-rated building will accommodate 500 as shelter

The Bodden Town Church of God Multi-Purpose Hall, which is being
built to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, will also be used as a public
hurricane shelter.

The 20,672 square feet single-storey
building is being constructed just past the Bodden Town Primary School on four
acres of church property. It is expected to be completed in time for the 2011
hurricane season.

The project is a working
partnership between the church and the government and is estimated to cost just
under CI$4 million when completed.

The multi-purpose hall is being
built to an elevation of 14 feet with hurricane resistant impact windows and
doors, which is the government’s requirement for shelters, and will accommodate
500 people.

The building will also feature a
kitchen, office and storage; two restroom areas with showers; a waste water
treatment plant; and a 60,000 galleon water cistern located under the hall

Church of God Pastor Winston Rose
said the finished building will be used for church services, youth activities,
community events and act as a hurricane shelter when needed.

“The shelter is being constructed
high to prevent flooding and as a multi-purpose hall we will be able to host
indoor games as well as use it for community events because there is no
sizeable auditorium in Bodden Town” he said

“The multi-purpose hall will be
used as long as necessary to accommodate persons sheltering from the hurricane
and for a reduced number that are left homeless,” he added.

In 2007, West Bay MLA Cline Glidden
suggested churches should be encouraged and assisted by government to construct
building to a standard that would allow the structures to serve as hurricane

Along with the increase in shelter
accommodations, Mr. Glidden said another advantage was the fact that church
buildings are used year-round and maintained by their congregations, so there
would be no added costs for upkeep to the government.

When the building is completed, Pastor
Rose said the congregation will be moving from the old church by Guard House Hill
to the new facility. Then when phase two of the project is completed, which is
the sanctuary, the congregation will move in there. The third phase of the
project will be an educational centre.

When asked what was planned for the
old church, Pastor Rose said he was not sure yet.

Although government is providing
some of the funding, most of the money will be coming from donations. Anyone
wishing to assist the project can make donations to the church, he said.

 The Public Works Department is providing project
management assistance to ensure hurricane shelter standards are met.

At the site on Thursday, Public
Works Department representative Evans Simiyu said that when the building is completed,
it should be one of the safest hurricane shelters on the Island.

Plans for the multi-purpose hall
were drawn up by Whittaker & Watler and contractors on the job are Chris
and Chuck Duty of Tri Island Construction.

In 2007, then-Deputy Chief
Secretary Donovan Ebanks revealed that there was only enough shelter space for
about 4,000 of the estimated 52,000 people living on Grand Cayman at the
time.  Both of new high schools under
construction are also going to serve as hurricane shelters when they are


An artist rendering shows what the finished Bodden Town Church of God Multi-Purpose Hall, will look like when completed.
Graphic: Submitted