John A. Cumber Primary Classroom addition going up

A ceremony took place at Sir John A. Cumber Primary School on Tuesday as school officials broke ground on a new two-story, eight-classroom addition to the school.

Primary school children were dressed in their best, finely pressed uniforms as they gathered around some of the architects and government representatives, including Premiere McKeeva Bush and Education Minister Rolston Anglin.

Mr. Bush spoke to the schoolchildren about their role in the future of Cayman.

“Children, I just want to say to you, small though you are, hopefully you recognise how important you are and all that people are doing for you,” he said.

The new addition will be able to house 200 students – 25 per classroom – in the building that is rated to withstand Category 5 hurricane winds. The building will also have wheelchair access.

“We’ve got away from the old system of putting down classroom blocks and we’ve come up with a new master plan at every primary school,” Mr. Anglin said. “So that what we do today allows us to transform and manage schools properly tomorrow.”

He added that the work at Sir John A. Cumber Primary School will allow the management of children in the most effective and efficient way.

The Education Ministry has worked with Public Works Department Executive Architect Sean Evans, architect Colin Lumsden and project manager Anson Stuart to lead the school project.

“We also were responsible for the master planning of the entire site so that future build-outs will fall into place, instead of just random (classroom) blocks,” Mr. Evans said.

Mr. Bush said that the project will expand building into other districts.

“That’s the policy, that is the plan – well over $10 million in funding because our primary schools are so important,” he said.

“Within the next four to six weeks, we should be breaking ground on at least two additional projects,” Mr. Anglin said. “I’m hoping that by June, we’ll have all the major projects under way, which will be George Town, Bodden Town, Savannah, Prospect and Red Bay.”

Chief Education Officer Mary Rodrigues added that the school addition project has been fiscally responsible.

“For 10 million dollars to do all we are doing – remove modulars, provide space for reception, give teachers specialist classrooms back, additional administrative – that’s a huge thing to accomplish with that money,” she said. “That’s the kind of project I like to be 
involved in.”

Local Story

Premiere McKeeva Bush challenged the children to make the most of their new school addition.
Photo: Brian Wright