Oranjestad – The journey towards modernisation of education in Statia is under way with the official start of construction of a new state-of-the-art secondary school. The unveiling of the construction billboard for the Gwendoline van Putten (GvP) school took place on Friday 9 September on the site of the project, which is jointly funded by the Government of St. Eustatius and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.
Construction of a new building to accommodate the GvP students, teachers, educators, management and support staff has been a long time coming, with the process starting back in 2010 with the publication of the Education Housing Plan 2010-2015, said Alida Francis, the Government Commissioner. Back then it was agreed that the school was in dire need of maintenance and had a shortage of classrooms.
“Two consultants, three architects, one contractor and 12 years later, we are here now to officially start the construction of the Gwendoline van Putten school,” Ms. Francis told the brief ceremony, attended by various dignitaries and a group of GvP students. “It is my hope that we can all gather here again with a much larger representation on the Statian community in late summer of 2024 to cut the ribbon for the official opening of the brand-new state of the art Gwendoline van Putten School. It is further my hope that these improvements will consequently contribute to an overall positive academic performance of Statian youth.”
The two-storey, U-shaped structure with a total floor space of approximately 4,000 square metres, will replace the current school buildings which opened in 1988 and no longer meet the practical and structural requirements. “The new school will have room for our children to learn more subjects, experiment more, and join the world in the modernisation of education,” stressed Carol Jack-Roosberg, Director of Social Domain. Architecture of Rotterdam designed the new structure, and it is being built by Statia Construction.