Upgrade under way at New Forest High
When New Forest Infant, Primary and Junior High began its transition to a high school in 2015, only 36 students were in the first batch.
This year, there are some 315 students at the school and the number is growing. The need for additional classroom space is being addressed by the education ministry.
To that end, some $70 million is being spent by the ministry to upgrade a number of schools across the island, including New Forest High, where four new classrooms are now almost complete.
According to the ministry, to date, some 69 classrooms have either been built, upgraded or expanded, and work has been done at several of the island's educational institutions. These upgrades will help in the drive to remove the remaining schools from the shift system.
"The building is now almost complete and the next phase is to outfit them with furniture," said principal Arnaldo Allen, as he gave CENTRAL STAR a tour of the new classroom block last Wednesday, Teachers' Day.
"When we started ... many naysayers were saying New Forest is not competent enough to execute a high-school programme, but I thank God that today we have 315 students in our high school and next year we will get bigger and better. Our children are improving and our teachers are executing our high-school curriculum," a proud Allen told students and teachers.
The two-storey building was constructed using 40-foot containers through a partnership with the Caribbean Maritime University.
The four containers are stacked on top of each other and reinforced with concrete walls and slab roof, as well as concrete flooring. New Forest will also be getting a new canteen, an auditorium, new bathroom facilities and new fencing for its playing field.
Similar projects are also in progress at Nain and Aberdeen in St Elizabeth.
"We also need an additional eight classrooms, plus labs for the sciences, information technology and foods, and we already have enough land space for construction of those facilities," Allen told CENTRAL STAR, as he lauded his teachers and non-academic staff for their excellent job in all areas.