New Discovery Bay High School to accommodate 100 students
The new Discovery Bay High School, which will be located on the premises of the Discovery Bay Primary School in St Ann, is scheduled to be opened in September as a ‘small’ high school with a maximum of 100 students, according to Sophia Forbes-Hall, the Ministry of Education’s Region Three director.
A steering committee that began working in June and headed by former Noranda Bauxite President Pansy Johnson and including principal of York Castle High School, Raymon Treasure, is guiding the process.
It is proposed that the school will occupy four classrooms that are available at the primary school, with a capacity of 25 students, maximum, in each classroom.
The classrooms are to be retrofitted to accommodate four laboratories for integrated science, industrial technology, food and hospitality services, and information and communications technology.
“Discovery Bay High School will be established on the first Monday of September, the 2nd,” Forbes-Hall told The Gleaner. “We currently have a whole stock of transfers and we’re trying to go through those to ensure our final enrolment for September. We are looking at a hundred students or below that because we intend to keep it as a small high school.”
Forbes-Hall said a space audit currently being done will determine the final count.
Twenty-seven students who recently sat the Primary Exit Profile examination have already been placed at Discovery Bay High, with the rest to come from transfers from other high schools.
Forbes-Hall said the new institution is designed to help alleviate overcrowding in some high schools on the north coast.
“We definitely need spaces on the north coast, specifically in the Discovery Bay area because we have schools in close proximity that are overcrowded and are currently on the shift system. We want to alleviate the shift system in the region.” she pointed out.
“Brown’s Town High, in particular, is a shift school and has no additional lands within which to expand so it is our vision to move them back on to the whole day programme.”
At a meeting recently with community members to discuss the way forward, several concerns were voiced by the stakeholders and addressed by the regional director and her team.
Among the concerns were that the library facilities would have to be shared and the playing field was not up to the official measurement for school football competitions.
Forbes-Hall said it is expected that the schools will share facilities in some cases, while having separate administration and staff.