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Work to begin again on Cayman Islands’ John Gray construction site

jgGrand Cayman, Cayman Islands – The Ministry of Education has started the tendering process in anticipation of work resuming on the John Gray High School site. Advertisements have been posted in the local media and on the Ministry’s website intended to pre-qualify potential contractors to be selected for the project. Construction is expected to begin in June 2016. Once a contractor has been selected, it is expected that the first phase – the school’s gymnasium – will be completed by May 2017.

“Historically, there have been setbacks with the construction of the new John Gray site but this administration is committed to getting the school built, and we are ready to move forward, following the process that is set out in the new requirements for capital projects, which so far has proven effective for other major Government projects.” said Hon. Tara Rivers, Minister of Education.

“The issues and challenges experienced with the Clifton Hunter site have helped us to chart the direction in which we need to go for the John Gray campus and although the process may take a bit longer, I am confident that the end product will be one of which teachers, students, parents and indeed the community can be proud,” added Chief Officer Christen Suckoo.

The decision to start with the gymnasium was made because that building is a central part of the school’s infrastructure, is the closest structure to the current John Gray site and is already 60 per cent completed, says officials working on the project.

“After meetings with the various stakeholders, including teachers, parents, architects and Ministry officials, it was agreed that the gymnasium was a good place to start as so much of what happens in and at the school takes place in this one building,” explained Jonathan Matthews, the Senior Project Manager who has been hired by the Ministry, and seconded to the Public Works Department’s Major Projects Office, specifically to finish the construction of the entire school. “Exams, school assemblies, PTA meetings, sporting, community and other special events will all take place in the gymnasium; it is a hub for both the school and the community, and because it is already partially completed, seeing it finally finished will be a significant morale boost and a motivator for everyone involved in the process.”

Government is working with a team of qualified consultants on different aspects of the project including the cost plan, design development drawing and outline business case, and is now in the project planning phase. Once work has begun on the gym, the Ministry of Education, along with Matthews and his team will start the next phase which will look at the overall design of the rest of the school. This will take place from July to December 2016 and involve the same process as was used for the first phase. The process includes completing a strategic outline case that will make the case for completing the school and an outline business case which will explore possible design options and detail the scope, costs, affordability, risks, procurement route and timetable for finishing the John Gray High School campus.

“The Ministry will be forming a stakeholder group that will review educational approaches and facilities in various jurisdictions and in the Cayman Islands to determine the links between school design and education outcomes,” said Minister Rivers. “That group’s assessment will influence the project process to ensure that a teaching facility is provided for the students at John Gray that is appropriate for the Cayman Islands, yet strives to deliver excellence in education for students now and in future generations.”

“We are determined to build a facility that will meet as many educational needs as possible, both in the immediate future and long term,” added Matthews. “The end product has to be right for Cayman, and not just a philosophy or concept that is handed to us. This is why we feel it is important to meet with all stakeholders during each phase to make sure that they are informing the process and the vision.”

The project team will be meeting with students during the first week of April to hear their opinions on what should be included in the new school in order to meet their needs, from both an educational and social perspective, and also give tours of the site.

Matthews, who comes to Cayman from the UK with 18-plus years in project management specialising in education construction, says he has recently worked on four major school projects from project conception and initiation to completion and all have come in on time and under budget. Mr. Jonathan Clark, newly appointed Principal of the John Gray High School, who has previously been involved with the design, construction and operation of schools, will also bring his experience to the project.

Interested contractors may view the Ministry’s pre-tender qualification advert and related information at


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