Government Commissioner Alida Francis Unveiling Building board New Construction Gwendoline van Putten School

The construction of a brand-new building  to accommodate, students, teachers, educators, management and support staff of the Gwendoline van Putten School is long in the making.

The process started in 2010 with the publication of the Education Housing Plan 2010-2015. (Onderwijshuisvestingsplan St. Eustatius 2010 – 2015) in which it was concluded that the Gwendoline van Putten school was in dire need of maintenance and had a shortage of class rooms. The last bottleneck (shortage of classrooms) was solved by building a new school for the Governor de Graaff School and transfer their classrooms to the Gwendoline van Putten school.

The recommendations from the housing plan, were laid out in a covenant, signed in October 2012. (Onderwijshuisvestingsplan St. Eustatius 2012 – 2015)

As a next step, a consultant was contracted in 2013 to establish a realistic spatial programme of requirements. Because of financial constraints, the process came to a halt to be picked up again in 2015 when an architect was appointed to prepare the preliminary sketches. Following a European tender, another architect was contracted to work out the plans and prepare the tender documents.

The idea at that time still that was most of the buildings would be renovated and were therefore assessed for compliance with the BES Building Code. Structural measures had to be taken, with financial consequences. Therefore, complete demolition and build a new, efficient building became an option.

Following up on the decision to construct new building, a report was completed in April 2019 with a programme of requirements for the new school building.

Also, an up to date covenant was signed in August 2019. In July 2020 a more suitable plot of land was identified to realize the school building. It is this plot of land on which we stand today. The acquisition of the land took some time but after a tender procedure and an addendum to the covenant, the contract with Statia Construction for the execution of the building was signed in June this year.

So, 2 consultants, 3 architects, one contractor and 12 years later we are here now to officially start the construction of the Gwendoline van Putten school.

I want to thank all those that contributed to the project thus far. Special thanks to Mr. Siem Dijkshoorn who has collaborated closely with me on this project since taking office in 2020. The Board and Management Team of the school were instrumental is helping to formulate the programme of requirements. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the local government have secured the funding. Thank you Mr. Ronny Duggins for your patience which resulted in the local government being able to purchase this plot of land.

It is my hope that we can all gather here again with a much larger representation on the Statian community 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 these improvements will consequently contribute to an overall positive academic performance of Statian youth.