Mt Salem Primary and Infant School to get $32m upgrade

Date Published: 
Friday, July 23, 2021 - 12:00pm
News Detail: 

WESTERN BUREAU:Thanks to the legacy benefit that has flowed out of the build phase of the zone of special operations (ZOSO) in Mt Salem, St James, a section of the community’s primary and infant school, which was condemned and was out of use for quite some time, is to be rehabilitated at a cost of $32 million.Omar Sweeney, deputy chairman of the ZOSO’s social intervention committee and managing director at the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), revealed that approximately $32 million will be spent to rehabilitate the section of the school that has fallen into disrepair.“I am pleased to announce that the Mt Salem Primary and Infant School, which is another commitment that was made to the community as part of the zone, will be rehabilitated. We will sign and start the contract for the rehabilitation of the school in August,” said Sweeney.The main building of the school was condemned in 2019 after it was discovered that the flooring on block two, which had started to show signs of deterioration from as far back as 2005, had worsened significantly when the island was impacted by the 7.7 magnitude earthquake, which occurred some 80 miles off the Jamaican coastline, last year.Subsequent to his original announcement, Sweeney told The Gleaner that while it would be good to have the works completed in time for the new school year, which will start in September, it is highly unlikely that it will be completed, given the scope of the work to be done.“We will be taking out that flooring and retrofitting it with new structure and components so that the building can be put back in service. That was the most cost-effective solution,” explained Sweeney. “It’s a rehabilitation-type project and sometimes it’s not until you actually start the work before you discover that the scope of work needs to be altered,” he further explained.While JSIF will maintain a presence in the community until the rehabilitation of the school project is completed, Sweeney said no additional projects will be pursued in the community.“This is the last major aspect of intervention that will be required in Mt Salem from a social intervention, investment standpoint,” said Sweeney.OTHER IMPROVEMENTSSince entering the built phase of the Mt Salem ZOSO, the community has benefited significantly in terms of improvements to its general infrastructure. The community has gotten a new police station, its community centre is currently being upgraded, new concrete walls have replaced old zinc-fencing across the community and the road surface is undergoing major repairs.“I believe ZOSO has done more for Mt Salem in four years that any politicians has done in my lifetime,” said Diana Palmer, a resident of the community. “Mt Salem is steadily becoming the place we would like it to be. I now feel much more comfortable calling this community home.”