DOE Reports Improvement at Four St. Thomas Schools

 Students at Addelita Cancryn Jr. High will be able to cross campus under this new covered walkway. (Photo by the V.I. Department of Education)Students at four St. Thomas schools will find a host of improvements and upgrades when they return to school Tuesday, according to Joseph Sibilly, territorial facilities manager for the V.I. Department of Education, and Charlesworth McCarty, director of maintenance and plant operations in the St. Thomas- St. John district.

In a series of news releases, the DOE announced improvements which included the following:

– Addelita Cancryn Jr. High School

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The focus at Addelita Cancryn Jr. High School during the summer break was on constructing a covered walkway that leads from a central area of the main campus to the school’s cafeteria.

At the early part of the summer Cancryn’s principal, Dr. Lisa A. Hassell-Forde, requested the covered structure be built to connect the cafeteria to the school’s administration building, library and classrooms. Since Addelita Cancryn Jr. High School opened in the 1960s as the Wayne Aspinall Jr. High School, students braved adverse weather conditions to get to the cafeteria from their classes.

When Cancryn students return to school they will be greeted with the new structure that will facilitate their movement from the main hallways of the school to the cafeteria in an easier and safer fashion, the DOE said.

Construction of the walkway began Aug. 9 and was completed before Sept. 1. The structure was designed by Tricon Architects and construction was completed by Big Lee Inc. Local funds in the amount of $45,855 were used to finance the project.

Other improvements at Addelita Cancryn Jr. High School included the installation of large-scale air conditioning units in the cafeteria and various classrooms. Tree cutting and landscaping were also completed throughout the school’s campus.

– Charlotte Amalie High School

Workers gutted the inside of the Junior ROTC building at Charlotte Amalie High School before completely rebuilding it. (Photo by V.I. Department of Education)Charlotte Amalie High School’s JROTC building underwent extensive renovation during the summer. The building was gutted and underwent extensive renovations to both its interior and exterior. New floors and ceilings were installed, as well as new air conditioning units and electrical wiring. The building also has been freshly painted.

Work on the building began July 12 and was completed within the month. It was conducted by Sanchez Landscaping for $28,382, paid through local funds.

Other highlights at CAHS included extensive repairs to the roof of the SPIS building and a significant upgrade to the AC duct system in the school’s gymnasium.

The DOE news release pointed out that besides the physical improvements, the project continued the maintenance division’s commitment to mentoring the next generation of skilled workers. Students enrolled in the district’s career and technical education classes assisted Department of Education in-house maintenance crews with painting and other duties at the district’s schools. At Charlotte Amalie High School, the budding tradesmen painted buildings and classrooms throughout the campus. The hours spent on the job will be credited to the young apprentices as community service hours.

– Ivanna Eudora Kean High School

According to McCarty, significant work went into electrical upgrades in computer Room 109. Outdated electrical wiring, which impeded classroom space, was redirected to allow for a modern, open-floor room design. Sleek, wooden computer desks were constructed and mounted along the walls, eliminating the need for the older models that had long been used in the classroom. McCarty said the work was conducted from Aug. 24-26.

Contracted crews from Jolly Electric also completed a $16,000 electrical upgrade that directly benefitted the school’s home economics classroom. McCarty, who joined the Department of Education in January, said stoves had been purchased for the classroom more than a year ago but the appliances could not be used because the incorrect power source had been previously installed in the classroom.

The electrical upgrade will allow faculty and students the opportunity to enjoy use of the stoves for the 2016-17 school year.

Another highlight of Eudora Kean’s maintenance projects completed this summer, McCarty said, was the conversion of a small storage room into office space that would accommodate a new member of the school’s administrative staff. Crews from Sanchez Landscaping also constructed another storage room to replace the previous one. Additionally, the high school’s JROTC building received a facelift from in-house crews. Plumbing and bathroom repairs, air conditioning unit installations and paint jobs were also completed throughout the campus.

– Ulla F. Muller Elementary School

Student painters touch up a modular building. (Photo by the V.I. Department of Education)Modular classrooms at the Ulla F. Muller Elementary School in need of repairs were overhauled over the summer, rendering the two buildings more secure and welcoming for students and teachers when school opens Tuesday.

The completion of the large-scale projects, commencing on June 28 and ending in early August, is in line with the Virgin Islands Department of Education’s commitment to year-round maintenance of its school buildings, the news release said. In-house maintenance crews in the St. Thomas-St. John district, under McCarty’s leadership, performed extensive exterior repairs to the railings and walkways of the buildings, as well as repairs to the buildings’ interior. Both buildings were also pressure washed, roof repairs were completed to eradicate leaks and fresh paint was applied to their interiors.

The cost of the projects amounted to $6,000 in local funds.

Students and teachers with classes in rooms No. 9 and 17 will also enjoy a cooler environment. Both classrooms were outfitted with new five-ton air conditioning split units. Roof repairs were also completed on various buildings and classrooms throughout the campus.

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