Hurricane Ivan taught many lessons to Cayman Islands officials and developers, resulting in strengthened criteria for new buildings to be considered public hurricane shelters.
Many factors are considered when designing a building to withstand a powerful storm, including wind speeds, flood levels, window strength, structural integrity and protection for utilities.
One new building, Willow House in Cricket Square, was designed with public hurricane shelter standards in mind, Orchid Development Managing Director Clarence “King” Flowers has said.
Out east, the Health City Cayman Islands development (also known as the Dr. Shetty hospital) is also being built to high hurricane protection standards. Other new buildings that are designed to be hurricane resistant are the Appleby Tower in downtown George Town, Walkers Building on Elgin Avenue and structures in Camana Bay.
For new commercial buildings, the hurricane standards are required for the buildings to be able to command Class A lease rates. None of the new buildings appears on the official list of public hurricane shelters.
One building that’s not up and ready for this year’s hurricane season is the Bodden Town Church of God’s multipurpose hall. The government has given the church more than $1 million in order to allow that facility to be built to hurricane shelter standards.
However, one new building that is a public shelter is the gymnasium of Clifton Hunter High School in Frank Sound. The high school gym is also an emergency medical centre.