Public Works and Transport Minister the Hon. Neko C. Grant along with Education Minister the Hon. Carl W. Bethel led a delegation to Marsh Harbour, Abaco Thursday to sign two contracts for the construction of an administration building, technical block and restrooms at the Abaco Central High School.

The contracts totaling some $900,000 were signed with Jones Construction Co. Ltd and Williams and Sons Construction Co. Ltd., during a short ceremony at the recently opened Department of Education office on Don MacKay Boulevard.

The contract for the administration building which was destroyed by fire over three years ago calls for the construction a reception area, principal’s office, vice principal’s office, clerical and copying spaces, student sick bay, staff lounge, rest rooms and staff kitchenette. The work is expected to be completed within 18 months.

Giving brief remarks, Minister Grant said the administrative staff of the school has endured “less than desirable” conditions and is to be commended for their patience.

“In Manifesto 2007 under Education and Infrastructural Development, we pledged to bring all government operated schools up to acceptable standards. The construction of the administration building, the technical block and restrooms are in keeping with that commitment,” stated Minister Grant.

Minister Grant recognized and thanked the members of his team who travelled to Abaco with him and and who are responsible for bringing the project to its present stage. They are: Anita Bernard, Permanent Secretary; Gordon Major, Acting Director; and John Schaeffer, area Engineer and Project Manager.

The technical block and restrooms – some 4049 square feet, are scheduled to be completed within 12 months. The work includes three technical classrooms and male and female restrooms.

Minister Bethel said the signing ceremony is a “reinvestment” in the quality of education and the opportunity that will be offered to the children who will attend Abaco Central High.

He described the mission to Abaco as two-fold: “One part of our mission is restorative…to rebuild the administration block, hopefully a little more commodious and take it to a standard befitting one of our larger high schools in the Family Islands,” said Minister Bethel.

“Our mission today is also expansion. We are now looking to satisfy that need for technical exposure and opportunities in training for the children.”

Minister Bethel thanked Minister Grant and his officials for effectively negotiating the contracts which he said are priced within the budget allocated for expansion and which will allow for landscaping to improve the physical appearance of the campus.

Following the contract signing, the contractors received mobilization cheques.

Government officials in attendance included Elma Garraway, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education; Lenora Black, District Superintendent for Abaco schools, Theophilus Cox, North Abaco Administrator and Cubell Davis, Chief Councilor.