Brac school to cost under $50M, says DES

| 01/09/2023 | 92 Comments
Cayman Brac Sports Complex on the Bluff, near the proposed new high school

(CNS): Government officials have said that the estimated cost of the new high school on Cayman Brac is less than $49,772,223. The information was released to CNS this week in response to a freedom of information request we made after a planning application for the project appeared on the government website.

The application for the new school on crown land has not been heard yet by the Cayman Brac and Little Cayman Development Control Board, but officials confirmed that over CI$4.2 million has already been allocated for this project for the preparation work.

Before the start of the 2022/23 school year, Education Minister Julianna O’Connor-Conolly said that Cabinet had given approval for the ministry to conduct an outline business case for the project. In the response to CNS this week, officials said that this has not yet been completed.

“The OBC is being written and should be submitted for approval by 22-Sep,” they stated in the email response to the CNS questions. “It will be accessible by the public subsequently.”

The planning application comprises a new high school building and a gymnasium on a 59-acre plot of crown land on Sunshine Drive on the Bluff.

This is the second school that the government intends to start working on during the remainder of its term; there are also plans to finish the long-anticipated high school in West Bay. At the same time, however, Premier Wayne Panton is pushing for spending cuts across the civil service, though he has said the goal is to find cost-saving measures not to cut services or stop any of its proposed capital projects.


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Category: development, Education, Local News

Comments (92)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is the kind of incompetence that acts as a wonderful smokescreen for corruption.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely Unnecessary High School, especially with a price tag of around $50 million.

    Want to spend some money on Brac.

    1. Install better antennas – since all the radio stations are off on Brac.

    2. Bring in more equipment and crews for Water Authority to expedite running piped water throughout the island.

    3. Repave roads – AFTER PIPED WATER IS DONE.

    4. After cleaning up road side – do like they do in Cayman – put in crushed rock.

    5. Get another garbage truck, more staff and a better grab truck for DEH.

    6. Relocate all Agricultural Dept Staff and Facilities up on bluff.

    7. Hire more police to actually patrol at night. Give them more gas money.

    The list could go on and on – but trust other people will add on to this very short list.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s a terrible idea and not needed. Much like the misleadingly named “general” aviation terminal, and another Govt built tourist attraction on N. Church St. (We see how well the rebuilt Turtle Farm has turned out from a cost perspective *_*)
    Politicians’ vanity projecfts, all. With civil servants who should know better too scared (or getting too much of a kickback) to raise the necessary alarms.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Simple and honest question: Why are projects in the Brac being denied (Schilling, Davenport, etc)? Is there a desire to keep Brac as an undevelopped island?

    I can see a big school being needed if the island is developing, but really if any private developments will be denied then where’s the justification?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Also , Grand Cayman is getting so expensive, that many will “retire” to the Brac, or buy property in anticipation of retiring there one day.
      It has all the advantages of living in Grand, without the crowded hassles.
      It has jet service, decent hospital, supermarkets and lifestyle we all crave…want overpriced fancy restaurants ..? Stay in Grand.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I see I got two thumbs down but no one bothered to answer why development is being denied in Brac. I am genuinely curious.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Julianna wants a legacy – a school in Cayman Brac named after her – no matter what the cost.

    I say give her a plaque, trophy, ribbon and certificate instead.

    Such great results and improvement to show under her and her bureacrats wasteful spending.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I would like Ms. Julie to list her accomplishments that benefited the Cayman Islands since she has been elected. I would be grateful if this is done before the next election.

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  6. Sunrise says:

    I am one that believe in education!! Either we build schools to educate the younger generation or more prisons to house them when they turn criminals. Simple as that!! I am probably going to get a lot of dislikes when I suggested on the other news report about the Cayman Brac school, which baffled me, as it seems those people would like to see criminals instead educated people. scratching my head in confusion !!

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Sorry but GRAND Cayman needs new schools asap. People can’t get their toddlers into the new school year cause everywhere’s full. Our population is growing insanely fast and we could already be tipping on 100k. I honestly don’t know how we’re gonna manage so many people on this rock. We think it’s hard now? Just wait.

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  8. Caymanian who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars putting two kids through private schools, because our public ones suck. says:

    In the Cayman Islands, politicians and government officials line their pockets through government funded construction projects. They give the building contracts to their uncles and cousins and friends, then get money kicked backed to them or get free construction or free condo units, or….you get the picture.

    $50 million to build a school in the Brac is ridiculous. Caymanians need to be outraged over these projects. Government is spending our tax dollars on brick and mortar and lining their own pockets, while our kids get substandard educations. That money would be better spent funding Caymanian kids to be educated at private schools and universities. We’re getting fleeced people. Wake the heck up.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Outraged is right…like MILIONS in Fees alone being paid to consultants for a new $Hundred million Prison ffs…
      Any explanation WAYNE…?

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  9. Anonymous says:

    I grew up in rural Australia.
    The population of the region was about the same as the Brac.
    We had one state(gov) primary school that all the kids attended, and busses picked you up at farm each morning and dropped you back at the gate at night.
    When I turned 13 it was time for high school.
    We packed up our stuff, said goodbye to our parents and jumped on the bus to the big smoke. Government paid for boarding school at a state run high school.
    That high school was in the top 5% for the state and we got to wear long pants!
    We went home for holidays and long weekends.

    Here it would be cheaper to build an accommodation block at Clifton Hunter and fly the kids in on Monday morning and home on Friday.
    In this day and age with WhatsApp and other things the kids would be fine. We had to write a letter once a week.

    So there is the monetary solution or the political one.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    Patients in corridors…yet no plans for upgrading HSA hospital to service 100K population. HSA will soon be forced to outsource medical care due to lack of capacity at HSA.

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    • Anonymous says:

      But why so many are sick? 70,000 residents, 3 hospitals.

      • Anonymous says:

        Actually according to the ESO it was 81,546 by December 2022, an increase of 10,000 people in less than a year, so who knows what the population is now. Probably well over 90,000.

  11. Anonymous says:

    How much do most schools cost to build?
    In general, the cost to build a school ranges from $295 to $756 per square foot.(Jan 20, 2022)

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  12. common sense says:

    I have seen the plans a current private school is putting together for an expanded school as their current location is too small for the current demand. The school will be for both primary and high school children. It has been priced by one of the large local businesses in valuations. They have priced the project at $20m to $25m for 1500 students

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  13. Anonymous says:

    The Existing Cayman Brac High School is the ONLY government school that is not overcrowded.
    It is also the best performing government school.

    It ain’t broke. Why fix it? I thought government realized it was going to run out of money.

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    • Anonymous says:

      How much longer you willing to wait for it to either be broke, or be wiped away by an Ivan type storm.
      Safe on the bluff serving many future generations…build it..!

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  14. Anonymous says:

    How much did the new primary school cost? someone’s getting some kickbacks here

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  15. Anonymous says:

    $50Million that’s code for $75M or more when it’s completed. From the same people who gave you John Grey, Clifton Hunter and the airport. Now comes, the Brac high school, $41M for general aviation terminal and Kenny’s burger joint on North Church St. Talk about money pits😵‍💫😵‍💫😵‍💫

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  16. Anonymous says:

    This is crazy! Past experience with capital projects have proven what is proposed is never the truth and we really never know what the total spend is.
    Why is this so expensive? What is involved and is it realistic for the Brac?

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  17. Anonymous says:

    As someone who works in the industry and has seen the concept for this building I can tell you two things with absolute certainty:
    1) it SHOULD cost far less than $50m for what it is but as always government moves to burn money and doesn’t know what it’s doing.
    2 it WILL cost more than $50m by the time it’s done. Because government loves to burn money and doesn’t know what it’s doing.

    Mark your calendars and let’s check back on this when it’s finished. Let’s also get some construction experts to weigh in on what it should cost given it’s size…nowhere near $50m

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    • Anonymous says:

      Another ‘can I be the biggest drama Queen’ comment…. As someone who ‘works in the industry’ you should know better than to make uninformed statements about how much the project will cost prior to insurance of the latest project documentation.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I’m more informed than you think. And also there is noooooo reason a school for so few children should be anywhere near that cost. And the government blows every budget it’s ever set for any construction project ever (that universal btw not just Cayman).

        Drama queen or not: I’m right.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    So the decision has been taken long before the business case is undertaken?
    That says it all really. Who is writing the business case anyway? An independent body or the ministry of education?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Another HMS Julianna dictate. She can’t help herself. She just loves spending other people’s money so she can have the school named after herself. Force her out now. She’s screwed up UCCI too.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    “Wait just a minute here. Let’s begin by addressing this from the top down. I’m not sure if the cost and usage of the ‘Palace of Versailles’ can even compare.”

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Ask Dart what Cayman International school as well as the recent addition cost to build!!!

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  21. Anonymous says:

    Can we see the business case for this??? The airport extension and flights to Barbados business case was a joke.
    What on earth is going on with this government’s spending???
    The education system needs fixing not new buildings!!!!
    Can no one step in and stop this madness???
    Government’s revenues have been inflated from record land sales and those sales have slowed down considerably due to inflation and less stock to buy. Is this Government burying their heads in the sand and ignoring the slowdown in the economy?
    This overspending in one election term needs to stop.
    For god’s sake Mr. Premier don’t just ask for budget cuts but cut some of the planned projects to save for tomorrow.

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    • Anonymous says:

      They’re having a great time in there! Tomorrow’s meeting agenda ‘How can we blow some more money on nonsense’

      Unfortunately sponsoring a lower division English football club has been taken already..

  22. Lo-cal says:

    Just get the plans for CIS and down size. that only cost $20M.

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  23. Anonymous says:

    JuJu is really going to milk this one for all it’s worth!

    Does it come with an Olympic size swimming pool?!

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  24. Anonymous says:

    Here we go again, look what Sir Alden said the two new high schools here in GC were going to cost and what the final bill was. Look at the cost of the airport compared to what PPM said it was going to cost. Just leave it as a blank check and forget these budgets because it is all smoke and mirrors anyway!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Alden relied on his senior Civil servants and consultants to tell him costs.
      He also relied on the same senior civil servants, who claimed to have the expertise, to oversee the project…which is when , in the hands of self important amateurs, things went wrong.

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    • Anonymous says:

      At least those schools serve hundreds of students per year!

      Imagine $50M for all 20ish students…

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  25. Anonymous says:

    Waste of money but no one should expect better from juju

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  26. Anonymous says:

    50 Million!!!!! that says it all right there! Ritz Carlton in all its glamour and opulence sold for 177 million US on SEVEN MILE BEACH! these numbers never ever add up and its so sickening.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly. No way it should cost that much.

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      • Anonymous says:

        1.27 ….and your qualifications to support such an opinion are..?
        Your line item calculations from first dig to completed furnished facility are..?
        Looking forward to your response.

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        • Anonymous says:

          square footage cost on seven mile beach from bush land in Cayman brac. The luxury fixtures and furniture of the ritz cartlon, complete with bridges and all. You are a complete goofy and exactly what wrong with government incompetence in these Islands. Ya’ll would be imprisoned elsewhere.

  27. Anonymous says:

    More crap from Cayman’s worst education minister of all time – the HMS Juliana.

    If this goes through, make her forfeit her retirement and medical benefits.

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  28. Anonymous says:

    For the fill maybe.

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  29. brackattack says:

    Assuming 150 students, that’s >$300,000 for per student..

    Fk the school, just buy them all a house one time because that’s what we spend our careers working towards anyways.

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    • Anonymous says:

      11.06…
      My house cost $1,000,000.
      Just my wife and I.
      First year $500,000. each.
      2nd year $250,000. each
      3rd year $125,000 . each..
      Now do your own similar exercise for 150 students..
      Geddit..?

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  30. Anonymous says:

    For how many kids?! Someone’s getting a nice new Tahoe. Just add on 10% to each cost and voila!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Every house on the Brac already has a CIG “work” truck!

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      • Anonymous says:

        DOE Enforcement one shiny and nice too.

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      • Anonymous says:

        8:13 pm, my house DOESN’T have government vehicle.
        It’s mostly expats that supposed to be working for Government that has a Govt.vehicle at all times,burning up free gas, they don’t have a vehicle of their own.shame, shame, shame.

  31. Anonymous says:

    How many students are there ?

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    • Anonymous says:

      The school is not being built for today, this month, this year.!
      Like everywhere else, the Brac population will increase, and even today, this month and this year, a new school , safely located, is needed.

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      • Anonymous says:

        The only thing increasing is emboldened greed by the same old cast.

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      • Anonymous says:

        But why does it need to cost $50 million?

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      • Anonymous says:

        Thank goodness all you thumbs downers weren’t in charge when Columbus arrived, or we wouldn’t have any roads or infrastructure or hospitals because …. they weren’t needed.
        Come out from under your rocks and prepare for your children and grandchildren.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Well said!

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          • Anonymous says:

            You are kidding right? Columbus? Since Ms. Julie was also a teacher, please ask her to list the roads and other infrastructures he built. If my memory serves me right he didn’t even step off the Santa Maria.

        • Anonymous says:

          The new school is probably needed considering the present one is very old but does it have to cost so much? I don’t remember reading that Columbus built any schools, any roads or hospitals or anything else. You are way off by a few centuries. He missed his way and ended up here, loaded up on turtles and reset his sails for the Americas.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sure. But for the handful of students in any given year you could have an appropriately sized facility for $5-10M, with the top end of that scale still gold plating.

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      • Lomart says:

        The population of Cayman Brac has hardly changed over the years. It is less now than it was in 1977! There is nothing to suggest that the population of Cayman Brac will increase exponentially over the next few years. Reality check!

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        • Anonymous says:

          Ask Frank Schilling when will his project start…
          Ask Davenport when their condos will start..etc.

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          • Anonymous says:

            They won’t.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Will the persons living in them have school age children or will they be tourists/retirees?

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            • Anonymous says:

              They will be Caymanians driven to the Brac by unaffordable cost of living in Grand…remote working with one return trip visit to office in Grand per week will be the norm.

        • Anonymous says:

          Lomart. are you drunk or crazy or both. Brac population less now than 1977 ? Brac population are nearly double now. check the vehicle’s on the road today.Go back under the rock that you came from.

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  32. Anonymous says:

    Totally crazy amount. CIG can’t seem to contemplate any project unless it costs a minimum of $50m. And that’s before the inevitable overruns.

    A really nice school building for 100-150 students should be no more than $10m.

    Of course, this being the Brac, they’re going to build it right beside the unused hurricane hotel building that’s sitting there falling into disrepair.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Build cost $ 400/sf. 150 students. 650sf per student (research it).

      97,500sf x $ 400 = 10m 😂

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      • Anonymous says:

        I did research it. The state of California recommends 96 square feet per high school student (much less for middle schoolers).

        • Anonymous says:

          That metric must be per pupil per classroom.

          As well as classrooms, you need corridors, staff rooms, canteens, kitchens, storage, gym hall, library, office space, admin, bathrooms, changing rooms. Then there are also outdoor areas too.

          The cost also needs to cover roads, walkways, parking and infrastructure costs too.

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          • Anonymous says:

            The 96 square feet takes all of that into account.

            How many square feet does Cayman Prep have? For how many students?

      • Anonymous says:

        Cost of construction in GCM is $400.
        Construction cost in Brac is much much higher.
        No equipment…has to be shipped in.
        No labor…has to be imported and Housed..
        No housing in Brac for those numbers
        Very high elec water and rental costs.
        Petrol costs
        Vehicle hire and food costs…and the list goes on……..
        $50 million sounds good to me..!..

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