Plan advances for new Sunrise center

Purpose-built premises for adult training center in the cards

The Ministry of Education is preparing an outline business case to develop a new Sunrise Adult Training Centre facility, with the aim of moving the program to a purpose-built building with more space for clients.

The Sunrise programs serve adults who have cognitive, developmental or physical disabilities. The center is currently based in a renovated duplex in West Bay, but the ministry has a tender out to examine the finances and possibilities for a new building for the center.

Sunrise Acting Director Kimberly Voaden said the new facility will be a purpose-built building in George Town with space to serve more clients and a more central location, making it easier for clients from the eastern districts to get to the center.

Ms. Voaden said the center currently serves 20 working clients and has another 35 who use Sunrise’s facilities and programs. But, she said, Sunrise has a two- to three-year waiting list. She said most clients come directly from the Lighthouse School.

“Graduates from the Lighthouse School are no longer guaranteed spots,” she said.

A steering committee has been meeting since May to get ready for an outline business case. The group includes representatives from the ministry, clients and staff from Sunrise, Lighthouse School and several government departments.

The Sunrise center has operated for 28 years, and it has been serving clients out of the existing West Bay facility for the last 15 years. Cabinet approved doing the outline business case this spring.

The business case will “review the cost implications of available options for a facility in a more centralized location, the expansion of program services, and increase in client enrollment,” according to an earlier statement from the ministry. Consultants preparing the report will also look at the potential for public-private partnerships.

“It is evident that there is a genuine need for a purpose-built facility to cater to the needs of the clients of the center,” Minister of Education Tara Rivers said in a statement earlier this year.