With the impending resumption of face-to-face learning, students and staff at Pondside Primary and Infant School in Hanover will benefit from two newly built classrooms, bathroom facilities, a play area, perimeter fencing among other structural improvements.
The construction project, valued at J$ 25,410,000, was completed with financing from the CHASE Fund and included the renovation of the existing school building which originally consisted of one classroom and a kitchenette. The school was also outfitted with a playset, classroom furniture and kitchen equipment.
“The contribution of the CHASE Fund benefited the school’s operation by enhancing the learning environment through improving the structure and overall ambience. We now have spacious well-ventilated classrooms which are conducive to learning,” said Rogene Henry, Principal of Pondside Primary.
Ms. Henry who has served as principal for 11 years explained that before the start of the renovations in November 2020, the school had one classroom divided into two areas, a students’ restroom and a small play area.
“We now have three spacious classrooms, an administrative area, students’ and teachers’ restrooms including a shower area for the students, a sickbay and a play area. The school is now fully fenced, and the CHASE Fund has improved our water supply through the contribution of a large tank and pump system. The electrical features were also upgraded offering better lighting and a fire alarm system was installed. We were provided with furniture – desks, chairs and tables for both teachers and students,” she shared.
The school principal expressed that, with the improvements, the school is looking forward to enrolling more children as more parents have shown interest in registering their children.
“Due to the dilapidated condition of the previous Infant Department building, parents were reluctant in sending their children to the school. We currently have twenty-two students enrolled in the Infant Department however with the renovation of the building, we are looking forward to enrolling more children,” Principal Henry stated.
Pondside Primary and Infant School was rationalized by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information in 2012. Most of the students enrolled in the school are from neighbouring communities such as Cascade, Woodville, Coolspring and Flint Wood. The land the school occupies is owned by the United Church.
When asked about the stakeholders’ response to the school improvements Ms. Henry noted that the students, parents and teachers were all elated and voiced appreciation of the renovation done by the CHASE Fund.
“The school improvements allow our stakeholders to look forward to inspection and certification of the school and the students are excited and motivated to attend school,” she said.
Recounting the renovation process Principal Henry expressed gratitude to the Board and Management of the CHASE Fund.
“It was an excellent experience working with CHASE. The representatives were courteous, cooperative and they portrayed commendable communication skills. They offered and accepted recommendations and ensured that the school was renovated under quality standards. The work they do for Early Childhood Institutions in improving infrastructure is highly appreciated,” she reported.
Chief Executive Officer of the CHASE Fund, Mr Billy Heaven, highlighted that CHASE’s involvement in the development of the nation’s Early Childhood Education sector is deliberate.
“We understand that the care and education received during this period will impact children’s academic and social trajectories throughout their lives. Early Childhood Education sets the stage for successful academic outcomes and contributes to long-term personal development,” Mr Heaven relayed.
He added that the organisation would continue to contribute to the Early Childhood Education sector which consists of approximately 2,707 Early Childhood Institutions, 271 of which are Infant Schools/ Department.