The U.S. Virgin Islands will receive almost $3 million in federal grant assistance for capital improvement projects to hospitals and clinics, schools, and other government facilities, Government House announced Saturday.
The notification was made by Interior Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Esther Kia’aina.
"We realize that these important projects would not be possible without the continued support of Congress and local leadership," Kia’aina said int he news release announcing the grants. "We are pleased to support Gov. John deJongh in this way."
The governor expressed gratitude for the grants.
"I want to thank Assistant Secretary Kia’aina and the Office of Insular Affairs for recognizing the importance of these projects and approving $2,980,000 for the Virgin Islands," deJongh said. "Considering the current financial situations at our hospitals and clinics, the announcement that $1,562,750 has been granted to assist our healthcare facilities is monumental."
V.I. Delegate to Congress Donna M. Christensen also said she was pleased with the news.
“This is excellent news and the people of the Virgin Islands are happy to receive the assistance in these most critical areas, such as the expansion of the East End Medical Center Corporation in St. Thomas and much-needed repairs and upgrades at the Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital and Medical Center in St. Croix and the Schneider Regional Medical Center in St. Thomas," Christensen said. "These projects and others that will be funded will go far in improving the health, education, safety and lives of Virgin Islanders."
Kia’aina added in her news release that the infrastructure projects will help boost economic development in the territory and bolster the territory’s health, education, power and public safety systems.
“I am particularly pleased to support the first meaningful expansion to the St. Thomas East End Medical Center Corporation clinic, which improves their facility and increases patient capacity,” Kia’aina said.
Grants awarded through OIA’s Capital Improvement Project Program are:
– $562,250 to renovate and expand the clinic area of the St. Thomas East End Medical Center Corporation.
– $465,000 to the Bureau of Corrections to refurbish the Anna’s Hope Correctional Facility to provide a safe, supervised environment for non-violent offenders.
– $52,250 to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles to rebuild the existing dilapidated Inspection Lane on St. John to reduce the average waiting time of vehicle inspection and registration for customers.
– $500,000 to upgrade and enhance the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system at the Juan F. Luis Memorial Hospital.
– $500,500 to upgrade the electrical system, replace the medical vacuum system, and replace the cracked boiler system at the Schneider Regional Medical Center.
– $400,000 to repair the roofs of the Juanita Gardine and Pearl B. Larsen Elementary School buildings.
– $500,000 to the Water and Power Authority to relocate critical overhead feeders to an underground system in the downtown area of St. Croix to improve pedestrian safety and facilitate quicker power restoration following hurricanes and major wind storms.
The governor recently submitted the U.S. Virgin Islands’ Fiscal Year 2016 Capital Improvement Project Grant application for $4.5 million to the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Insular Affairs, for projects related to education and libraries. The fiscal year 2015 request, made in September 2013, was for the same amount and covered school maintenance projects and the upgrade of library facilities, according to Government House.