Multimillion-dollar shelter dubbed ‘Hurricane Hilton’ will be converted to high school
A partially built emergency shelter in Cayman Brac dubbed the Hurricane Hilton will be transformed into a high school.
Government has budgeted an initial $500,000 to upgrade plans for the shelter on the bluff, which is about 70 percent completed, to add some 16 classrooms and administrative buildings.
Perched on the highest point of the land in Cayman Brac, the development already included a two-story building featuring a large multipurpose hall and private rooms. It was dubbed the Hurricane Hilton by locals because of the reported $9 million cost.
Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell said it would cost an additional estimated $6 million over the next few years to modify the development as a replacement location for the Layman E. Scott Sr. High School.
The school has around 140 pupils and is about 50 years old. A new school building was considered a long-term target rather than an urgent priority. But Mr. Kirkconnell said it made sense to combine the project with the ongoing development on the bluff as a “cost effective” solution to a looming problem.
He said the new school would take several years to complete because of funding constraints.
“We are not in a position to make it a capital project, so it will need to be a phased development over a number of years,” he said.
Mr. Kirkconnell added that the Department of Education and the Department of District Administration were collaborating on the project. The full cost will become clear once architects have finalized a new design plan, but Mr. Kirkconnell estimated it would be in the range of $6 million.
The buildings will still function as a hurricane shelter, and the changes will be additions rather than alterations to the existing plans.
Mr. Kirkconnell said, “We have a multipurpose building there on the bluff, built to withstand a category five hurricane.
“We saw this as an opportunity to convert that to a high school and deal with that issue in a cost-effective way and ensure that this is used every day.
“It is on the same parcel of government property as the sports complex, and it lends itself to being a complete facility.”
Plans for the school were unveiled among a bonanza of major projects for the Sister Islands by Governor Helen Kilpatrick in her first Throne Speech outlining the government’s plans for the coming year.
An expansion of the Charles Kirkconnell Airport to accommodate security equipment for the processing of international flights, a new Cayman Airways reservations and cargo facility on the Brac and a runway in Little Cayman to allow for “cost effective turbo prop aircraft,” are also planned.
The football field on Cayman Brac will get new changing rooms and bleachers to help it meet FIFA requirements, creating opportunities for sports tourism, said Ms Kilpatrick.