Drivers and passers-by on the highway will, in a few weeks, see activity on the building at the Parkinson Memorial School which is to be converted to a multicultural creative centre for the students of the school and the surrounding community.
“The process of tendering and selecting contractors for the project has taken us a little longer than expected especially with the Covid-19 restrictions last year” stated Anthony Ali, CEO and Managing Director of Goddard Enterprises Ltd (GEL), the company that has undertaken to fund and oversee the construction of the project as part of its 100th anniversary celebrations. GEL adopted the school a few years ago and gets involved in several projects with the students.
“When we were planning our anniversary celebrations, we decided that we were going to do this for the children of Parkinson and for the children of Barbados. Children are gifted differently, and we know that Parkinson in particular has turned out some very talented musicians and entertainers as well as managers of the arts. So, we thought that there was no better gift to the children of this area than to restore and build this centre as an anniversary gift” stated Ali.
The Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training (METVT) has expressed gratitude to Goddard Enterprises Ltd (GEL) for the investment in and commitment to the restoration and upgrade of the “Block D’ building located at the school. The re-purposed building will cater to the creative prowess of the students as they engage in a diverse arts curriculum within a custom-designed, state-of-the-art facility. Although the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic have delayed the anticipated start of the renovation, the Ministry said it was committed to the task and assured the public and its partners in education that this was a project that will be beneficial to the students of the Parkinson Memorial School and the surrounding community in the short, medium and long term.”
GEL celebrated its 100th anniversary on 13th October 2021 and announced the 1.2-million-dollar refurbishment of Block D at the school in association with the Ministry. The block had been condemned for over 20 years because of septic tank issues and problems with the exhaust fumes from vehicles on the highway, which affected both children and teachers at the school.
A mobilisation meeting was recently held with the contractors who won the tender bids to work on the project, in order to set timelines and in some instances request new quotes because of price changes since their bids were submitted.
Due to budget overruns, as a result of the price increases in the market, it was decided to divide the project into two phases: phase 1 will include the works to make the classrooms functional, along with preliminary works and containments for phase 2; phase 2 will include the air conditioning, special furnishings and fixtures to transform the space into a full creative centre.
This first round of construction is focusing on phase 1 to give the school a functioning block as teaching space is limited. With phase 2 being done later as more funding is secured. The firms who have been contracted to date for the project are: Quantity Surveyor & Construction Project Manager – Graham Bethel of Total Project Services Limited; General Contractor – Empire Building & Construction; Electrical Contractor – Williams Electrical; Architect – Tristan Gibbs of Architecture of the Knight; MEP Engineers – EMCE Ltd.-Electrical & Mechanical Consulting Engineers Limited; and Structural Engineers – ACI – Adams Consulting International.
The phase 1 of the project will see the erection of the following classrooms, ground floor: Performing Arts Classroom – Steel Pan; Steel pan storage room; Performing Arts Classroom – Theatre; Male and female theatre changing rooms; Performing Arts Classroom – Music; Music instruments storage room; Male bathrooms. On the first floor will be three computer music labs; two computer storage rooms; a visual arts classroom and female bathrooms.
Construction for this part of the project is expected to take approximately three months after commencement. (PR)