McAlpine secures gym contract at JGHS

| 29/06/2016 | 27 Comments
Cayman News Service

John Gray High School site

(CNS): As the education ministry turns its attention back to the redevelopment of John Gray High School almost a decade after the project first started, the contract to complete the gymnasium on the abandoned site has gone to local contractor McAlpine. One of four companies to bid on the first phase of the re-start, the firm, which missed out on the original contract in 2006 for being too expensive, secured the $5.5 million deal after an official procurement process and now has less than a year to complete the job.

The building, which includes the completion of the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire systems as well as internal finishings, such as flooring, lights, the AV system and other features, is expected to be completed no later than May next year in time for students to sit exams in the new building in 2017.

Education Minister Tara Rivers said the government was committed to building a facility that met the needs of all stakeholders.

“Over the last few months, the project management team has engaged with the John Gray students, teachers and parents to ensure that they had a say in the process and are able to take ownership of their school,” Rivers said, adding that she was looking forward to completion.

It has been many years now since any significant work has gone on at the site. The project has been plagued with multiple and well-documented problems, from the original general contractor’s walking off the job to the previous minister’s decision to mothball the project due to the challenges for public finances. The Office of the Auditor General has also revealed a number of major management problems with its sister project, the Clifton Hunter High School.

This time, the education ministry has its own senior project manager working on the job. Jonathan Matthews, who has been seconded to the Public Works Department’s major projects office, said that picking the right contractor was essential.

“Completing the gymnasium required a contractor with a proven track record of constructing complex buildings, and experience with delivering school and sports projects,” he said. “Through the prequalification procurement processes, the team at McAlpine demonstrated that they have the right experience and understand the risks associated with this project and how to mitigate them. Following the open tender evaluation, the company proved to be the most competitive contractor, providing the best value for money to the Ministry of Education and the general public.”

Matthews added that McAlpine would provide a dedicated team to work closely with the project team and the school to ensure the project met the needs of end users and minimised any impact on the operation of the school.

Managing Director of McAlpine, Ian Pairaudeau, who recently also secured the government contract to expand the airport, said the firm had a long history of providing high quality local construction projects.

“Our team of well experienced construction professionals, all of whom are Caymanian, is more than capable of successfully completing the project,” he said. “We also like to keep as many Caymanians employed within the industry as possible, and anticipate that this project will provide jobs for approximately 30 to 40 people between McAlpine and its sub-contractors, which is an added benefit.”

The education ministry’s chief officer, Christen Suckoo, said that students had also weighed in on the functionality of the gym, giving their ideas on how to utilise the space outside of physical education. Teaching staff and Jon Clark, the school’s new principal, also provided feedback on the design.

Suggestions included an automatic curtain that will divide the hall to allow two classes to be taught at the same time; court striping for all of the indoor sports, which will enable the PE curriculum to be delivered more efficiently and consistently; a multi-purpose space for theory classes; and two teaching stations that will allow for instruction to be given prior to physical classes. Currently, teachers cannot offer PE lessons if it is raining outside as there are no indoor areas to accommodate physical activities.

“The project team also took on board the lessons learned from the challenges and issues at Clifton Hunter High School, and consulted the teachers at that school on what is and isn’t working on that campus so as to avoid repeating or perpetuating the same issues at the new John Gray campus,” Suckoo said.

“The feedback we have received from the various stakeholders has definitely informed this process, and we have balanced their input by looking at school construction and design outside of Cayman as well as what is working in Cayman in order to ensure that the final result is a best-fit for our students and community,” he added.

Aiming for the best value for money, Suckoo said the building would also be as energy-efficient as possible.

During the recent budget meeting at the Legislative Assembly, more than $13 million was set aside for capital spending in education and the money for the gym will come from this allocation. However, it is not clear if any other aspects of the JGHS will commence during the new fiscal year, which starts Friday.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , , ,

Category: development, Education, Local News

Comments (27)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the explanation, I will point it out to someone just in case. Have a good weekend wherever you are.

  2. Unbelievable says:

    The gym is being done first so they can host the NCAA Basketball Tournament. I kid you not!

  3. Denis says:

    This will be real sport to complete. A large part of the electrical equipment was taken to finish Clifton Hunter which had been damaged by humidity and elements during the construction hiatus. The generators governors had to be swapped to get occupancy at CH and are probably still at Clifton Hunters generator room requiring a total rebuild. Some of the electronic metering suffered the same fate. Defective light fixtures at CH were replaced by JG ones and so on. The same happen to motor starters and circuit breakers. I hope someone has done a complete survey and inventory of the work. The same fate happened to a lot of the non-functional damaged or broken mechanical equipment. Since the gymnasium is the centre of the emergency power electrical distribution and for the chill water for the other building, the complete restoration of the systems which were in majority all installed or in place is essential.After another 4 years since the completion of Clifton Hunter I can imagine the state of what is left. The hiatus at CH was only a little more than 18 months.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This begs the question – why was McAlpines not chosen in the first place. The gym is a start but what about all the other buildings, especially the classrooms?.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The only way to fix our school system is If you work for the Government well guess what your children will attend the public school system. It’s called checks and balance. No cayman prep when your the director of education. Or a teacher at John Cumber and need to leave quick to pick up your kids at St. Ignatious. It’s would be amazing to see what changes would occur if our MLA children and grandchildren attend our public school how much money would be instantly put into schools and how fast they would get cleaned up. The only past minister I know is Mark Scottland has sent his children to public and done extremely well.But the grounds at John Gray are disgusting.

    • Anonymous says:

      MLAs sending their kids to government Primary schools is probably fine, but fast forward a few years to high school with all the bullying going on these days those same children would be prime targets. Especially those high school kids having to listen to their parents cussing the Ministers / MLAs because they refused to give them money every time they were asked to and they going to school and taking it out on the MLAs/ministers kids. I do not blame them if they decide not to put their children in direct line of fire. It has more to do with their safety than quality of education at the government schools. Many students went through the government system and are well adjusted highly qualified citizens because their parents worked with the schools, showed up for PTA meetings and reporting sessions and made sure their children applied themselves. They were well behaved and had a supporting home base. If you want that kind of student you have to put in the time. Stop expecting teachers and community to raise your children and begin by teaching them some manners. When you raise unruly kids and turn them loose in the class rooms, playground and community the results as is plain to see is chaos , disrespect and illiteracy. The 10 percent of parents who properly raise their children see wonderful results in the government schools and is on par with the private schools. Stop blaming the teachers, schools, and government and do your part. You will be amazed at the results.

  6. whatever says:

    All I know is that MacKeeva built Prospect, a school that survived Ivan unscathed, for less than 13 million back in 2004. Not saying that McKeeva is the Be All and End All of things, in fact he’s the polar opposite of it.

    BUT, if there’s one thing that one cannot take away from McKeeva is that he built a quality school for relatively little money. This monstrosity that Alden is building is not only waaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy behind schedule, but hugely overpriced and, if they’re sticking to original “open concept” plans, grossly impractical.

    • Anonymous says:

      It doesn’t help that CIS was built for 20 million either. I’m still amazed at the total cost of these projects. Did they even consider the required maintenance of these facilities?? The most deplorable situation of all is the lack of fees parents pay for their children. It’s high time they be reintroduced. Yes every child has the right to be educated however parents must be held accountable as well.

  7. F.A. Cetious says:

    I do pray that the bids have been reviewed by each of the 18 sitting MLAs individually to ensure that one of their fourth cousins twice removed who recently opened a construction company has not been mistakingly overlooked during the process.

  8. POLITRICKS 101 says:

    10 years later Premier Alden McLaughlin Tara Rivers and the PPM should be embarrassed that they are doing the gym. SMH

    How much will the remediation work cost after a decade of being a left as the biggest eyesore after Mount Trashmore? The campus is a mess what about completing the class rooms where the children are taught first?

    “Don’t Stop the Progress”

    • Anonymous says:

      If education was a priority ppm would have started the work in 2013. Must be an elections soon or they think people are stupid

      • Anonymous says:

        9:28pm Where was the money coming from? Did you have some to continue the construction? The reason being there was no funds available and the UK would not allow the government debt to increase at the time. Now, things have changed and there is a better financial situation.

        • Anonymous says:

          When you finally realize this government magically finds millions of dollars for projects around elections but somehow disappears the other 3 years in between, you would not be making these comments.

      • Bling Man says:

        I think it both.

  9. Anonymous says:

    JITE=Just In Time for Elections

  10. Anonymous says:

    Please look into the dividing wall very carefully. I was a physical education teacher in a brand new school in the U.S. and they put an electric divider in when the school was new. It worked approx. 3 months and was too costly to repair. I would imagine it would be even more so on an island. Maybe a divider that slides instead of one which operates electrically would be better?
    Another thought would be a weight room/part aerobic room (bikes, treadmills) might be something to look into?

    • Anonymous says:

      Like asking a monkey to read the directions.

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you thought of passing on your idea and experiences to the Ministry. Sounds like worthwhile info which I am sure they would be happy to hear about. Every little bit helps.

      • Anonymous says:

        5:20 if you are reponding to post 7:55-

        I do not live in GC, just been a tourist for years (teacher even longer) and read CNS especially re. schools, education. Please feel free to pass the info. on to whomever you feel would benefit- that is why I posted. 🙂 The electronic divider we had was a total waste when it could not be fixed without expensive repairs and was stuck in the 3/4 closed position. (It came down from the ceiling to divide the room so once broken everyone had to duck under the curtain to cross the gymnasium and any game played the balls would roll into each other’s side- a ridiculous mess for a brand new school). I would not want any school system to make the same costly mistake.

        Re: a weight room/aerobic room- this was our most popular addition as it was utilized by students during the day and athletes and teachers before and after school.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.