February 21, 2024

New Gymnasium for JG School

New Cayman Islands John Gray High School Gymnasium handed over to the school in time for exams

The Ministry of Education is pleased to announce that the new John Gray High School (JGHS) Gymnasium was handed over to the school on 8th May 2017, as targeted, in time for the Year 10 and Year 11 (CSEC/IGCSE) exams. This new gymnasium provides John Gray High School with a multi-purpose hall that can be used for exams, assemblies, graduations, careers fairs and indoor sports. It also provides the country with a multipurpose National Arena, able to host public events, conferences, fairs, state funerals, concerts and international sporting events.

Minister for Education, Hon. Tara Rivers thanked all involved for ensuring the gym was completed within budget and on schedule. She stated, “I would like to thank the Ministry and the Major Projects Office in the Public Works Department for their hard work and dedication to this project, and for ensuring it was completed on time and fulfilling the promises of this Government. This gym will be a true asset to John Gray High School and to the Cayman Islands. I’m sure our students will use it with pride and that it will provide the necessary educational, sporting and hurricane shelter facilities that will last for generations to come.”

Principal Jon Clark explained the positive and practical effect the new gym is having on the school and its students: “I am delighted that we are in and using the gymnasium in time for the exams. For the maths exam we had 260 students in the hall. We have always struggled to accommodate students for exams often having to use many additional classrooms; this has a knock-on effect to the learning of other year groups. The behaviour of the students in their new surroundings has been excellent and I hope this will also have helped their performance.”

Principal Jon Clark also explained the other benefits of the gym for the school: “In the hall itself we will be able to have whole school assemblies that have not been possible before, this will help us further with our school improvement and ensuring we get all staff and students on the same page. Academy meetings and high quality staff training will also be facilitated easily. Our graduation will be in here this year giving more family members the opportunity to attend this special event; our musicians are especially keen to get in and test the adaptations that have been made to the acoustics. From a sports perspective, this is a world-class facility, catering for all of the major indoor sports and with seating for over two thousand spectators. My Physical Education (PE) Department can now aspire to become the best PE Department in the Caribbean and to develop even more of Cayman’s future stars.”

The Department of Sports’ Director, Mr Collin Anglin, expressed his enthusiasm for the opportunities this new facility presents for sports at the school level and on the national level in Cayman. “I am especially excited for what this will do for interscholastic sports! Interscholastic sports foster school pride and patriotism, keeps kids positively engaged during the hours of 3:00 and 6:00 p.m., encourages healthy lifestyles and provides more areas of recognition for our children that are involved in sports. It is one of the most fundamental components needed for any country’s overall sports’ development programmes.”

Mr. Anglin continued, “At the National level, the gym will be a huge boost for the national sporting programmes such as netball, basketball, badminton and volleyball that have long been hindered by the absence of an indoor facility of this calibre. Now the national teams can have a training facility that simulates international standards, thereby raising their level of play and preparation as well as being able to host more competitions which will create more awareness for each sport.”

Of equal importance, Cayman now has a much needed additional category 5 hurricane shelter, providing an extra 1149 spaces in the event of an emergency, safeguarding our citizens. This will be available for use this hurricane season.

Chief Officer for Education, Mr. Christen Suckoo stated, “With contracts nearing their final completion, the Ministry can now disclose that the budget for the gym, as approved in June 2016, was CI$8.8 million. This included: the build cost for the multi-purpose uses of the building as a sports gym, school hall, national arena and hurricane shelter; consultant fees; soft costs such as furniture for exams; the inclusion of Photovoltaic array (solar panels) panels and LED lighting which will reduce the energy consumption and running cost; and a contingency and risk allowance for any possible unforeseen circumstances during the completion of the gym.”

Mr. Suckoo also explained that the budget included: the build cost for the upgrade of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, housed within the gymnasium, which will supply the new school; the new car park for the school; and a plant room in building 1 of the new school. These additional works were completed in this phase as a logistical necessity prior to work commencing on the other elements of the new John Gray High School. The Ministry is happy to reveal that the final cost of the current phase of the project is anticipated to be between 1% and 3% below the approved budget. This final cost is being determined as part of the final account process and will be released once finalised.

The next stage of the project is now underway. The Ministry of Education, working with the Major Projects Office in the Public Works Department, is in the process of procuring consultants who will assist in identifying the preferred design option for completing the new John Gray High School campus. This will build on the stakeholder engagement that was carried out in the Strategic Outline Case, to ensure that the new school provides the spaces for teaching and learning that students and staff need.

Photos and Captions:

Photo 1: New JGHS Gym Ready for students to sit their exams. Photo Credit: Scott Swing

Photo 2: JGHS Students sitting their maths exam in the new gymnasium. Photo Credit: Scott Swing

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