Cabinet OKs plan for high school project

| 19/11/2018 | 21 Comments
Cayman Islands, Cayman News Service

John Gray High School, Grand Cayman

(CNS): An outline business case by consultants KPMG for the new John Gray High School project has been approved by government, and work is now moving onto the procurement process to find consultants and contractors for the design stage of the new school. The development will now include the refurbishment of the existing George Hicks site and the demolition of the existing Cayman Islands Further Education Centre (CIFEC) campus to create an “education complex”.

But government is not giving away the price tag of the expanded project because officials said the tender process is now underway. In a statement Education Minister Juliana O’Connor-Connolly said she had set a target completion date of Christmas 2020.

The new project goes beyond the original high school redevelopment, which has been stalled for almost ten years after the original contractors walked off the job. Government failed to get the project back on track, given the legal challenges and then government’s own financial difficulties.

Earlier this year the ministry revealed the plans for a different approach and a new expanded vision incorporating three projects was developed.

Project A completes the school campus by adding to the partially constructed structures; Project B is the refurbishment of George Hicks for the CIFEC, Department of Education Services (DES) Student Services, Corner Stones, Parenting and Pregnant Teens and the UCCI; Project C will see the old John Gray building demolished for a new school sports field and the refurbishment of the old hall for use as a hurricane shelter, indoor sports facility and community hall.

Jonathan Matthews, the Senior Project Manager from the Public Works Department’s Major Projects Office, explained that the OBC, which is due to be released publicly Monday, evaluated the project options to determine the best way forward.

“The assessment concluded that the optimum design option is to complete the school by adding to the partially constructed buildings to make them into a two-storey, interconnected departmental high school building,” he said, adding that KPMG had worked with a group of educational consultants to review and improve the proposed curriculum model and time-table for JGHS.

The outcome of this review was the development of an operational model for the school that not only reduced the size of the school, making it more comparable with other international jurisdictions, but also identified efficiencies in the deployment of teaching staff that will enable better collegiality and improvements in student and school performance.

The approval of the OBC includes the recommendation that a two-stage design and build procurement route be used and that Projects A and C are to be procured together under one contract, as these two parts both deal with the new John Gray High School.

Each of the projects will have a budget that contains an approved affordability range that cannot be exceeded, which includes fees and contingencies, officials said. But government is not revealing the budget for the projects because of the procurement process.

The Major Projects Office is overseeing the tendering process and it is now seeking proposals, on behalf of the Ministry of Education, from teams of consultants to complete the design for the new school and to provide the required services for its construction.

A request for proposals (RFP) for a multi-discipline consultant team has been published on the Cayman Islands Government (CIG) public procurement portal as well as one for a contract administrator and another for quantity surveying services. The ministry will be advertising for general contractors to prequalify as bidders on the two-stage design and build procurement route once the other contracts are decided.

”The consultant team will work collaboratively with the appointed contractor between stages one and two of the procurement approach to fully develop a priced set of design and construction documents that will be presented to CIG for approval,” said Matthews. “If this ‘developed option’ still meets the project objectives, represents value for money and is within the affordability range, then it will be recommended to government in a final business case to approve the commencement of construction.”

School Principal Jon Clark said he was enthusiastic about the approval of the OBC.

“Having been involved from the inception of the business case process, I know that this new design for John Gray High School is what the teachers and students want and need,” he said. “I know this because they have been involved throughout, and the consultants have listened.”

He added, “We are incredibly happy that government has approved the OBC for the completion of the new JGHS. We can’t wait to step in to what will be a fantastic new learning environment and to continue to improve JGHS and the outcomes for our students.”

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Category: development, Education, Local News

Comments (21)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Will we see a repeat of the awful design of Clifton Hunter? Teachers back in the day tried to tell those in authority of the difficulties an open plan classroom design would cause but they refused to listen. Folks they are not listening to teachers again. The powers that be hire them for their expertise and then refused to consult in a meaningful way. Instead the Education system is being run by the Education Council most of whom have no idea and it is then implemented by a bunch of bureaucratic tossers who come to our land whose main aim is to stay at all costs. Dead beats from UK so they wash up on our shores and present themselves as experts.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Still no plans for a new primary school in the Bodden Town electoral district.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    OKs is okay only if the project proceeds now and not in a couple of years during which more Ministries will be formed to oversee.

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  4. anonymous says:

    I would be interested to learn what expertise KPMG have in new school construction. It seems the Dept of Education like Ofreg need consultants ad nauseam.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    In 2010 JGHS moved from a site suited to its needs to the old GHHS site which was segregated into 4 mini middle schools. All subjects were taught in each area, now as a high school academy style site we struggle moving resources as each subject is in each corner of the school.
    Children being taught for 12 potentially years in buildings not fit for purpose have been failed by the delays in this project. The new school will not be like CHHS with a design sold on myths.
    We need the money spent on this sooner rather than later, JGHS can then move on in aiming towards its expectations to become a world class school.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The problem isn’t the buildings. How about investing the time and money in staff and curriculum and things that will actually improve outcomes for the kids. Most of Cayman’s problems can be traced back to the high schools. But instead we’ll spend $50m (including kick backs) on a vanity project that will end up late and over budget because the contract somehow goes to cronies instead of the best team for the job….

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    • Anonymous says:

      You are quite wrong there. Most of Caymans problems do not start in the secondary schools but long before that.It starts with the early years and departments like EIP failing to the interest of the child first. Don’t blame the staff there, but you can squarely blame its SSIO who has willfully done nothing about its failures. Also responsibility must be born by the woefully inadequate Social Services. Secondary schools are the recipients of some very damaged young people. They are teachers first and foremost not social workers or trauma specialists. That said also look at a system that pushes Head Teachers into keeping inadequate teachers because of their connections.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Farewell surplus, it was nice meeting you even if only ever so briefly!

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    • Bluff Patrol says:

      I see no better use of the surplus than investing in our children and raising the standards of education in these islands.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You do not raise standards by building a new school, nor giving teachers a pay rise, nor indeed by following the British system. You raise standards by hiring high quality teachers in the first place, investing in continuous professional development of teachers, giving head teachers the right to hire and fire and implementing an effective Performance Management System.

    • anonymous says:

      11.13am before we get to the new John Gray High School we need to wait nd see what further handouts are made to CINICO and Cayman Airways, the surplus may disappear before it starts.

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    • Anonymous says:

      The report, if you read it, explained that the “surplus” above forecast, would be fully consumed by the similarly un-forecast Cost of Living Allowance 5% bonus within one calendar quarter. There is still $430mln in debt coming due next year, and no extra money to spend.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Back-filling mistakes from three terms ago…a decade later…

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Great news and a long-overdue upgrade.

    Our kids deserve better.
    In fact, some suspect they have started to believe they are only worth what our provisions imply, hence the negative performance.

    Looking forward to the new facilities.

    – Who

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