Members of the St Simon community in Hanover are seeking answers as to why a multimillion-dollar school building is yet to be opened more than two years after it was constructed.
The state-of-the-art facility comes complete with several classrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, a play area, and a perimeter fence and was built as part of the Ministry of Education’s rationalisation programme to transition basic schools to infant schools or infant departments with support from the Chase Fund. It was constructed on the property of the St Simon Primary School.
“I am not entirely sure what is the hold-up, but I know that they wanted an infant department despite neither the community nor the school having enough children for an infant status,” Sybil Brown, principal of St Simon’s Basic School, told WESTERN STAR.
“I feel let down and discouraged about the whole affair because the point about it is that I was the beggar,” she said. “I lobbied for a new school, but when they came and surveyed the property where our basic school is presently, the space was not enough.”
Brown said that she contacted the primary school, which had land to spare, and that is why it was built there.
“I am here 50 years and about to retire, so you can imagine how heartbroken and disappointed I am to be leaving the basic school in a state like this,” she said.
The residents believe that if the authorities were to hand over the new building, that would help to bolster the basic school’s numbers, which have dwindled from as high as 75 students at one point.
But, with most students from the community going to schools in other areas, Ian Hayles, member of parliament for Western Hanover, said that he has plans to use the facility as a community centre.
“I fought for that facility to be renovated, but they decided to set it up a particular way. Now, we have a fantastic building but very little students to occupy it,” said Hayles. “We do not have enough students to utilise the building, so I want to use it for community-related activities because we are without a community centre in St Simon.”