Ground was officially broken for the centre at a ceremony on Friday (June 18), in which the Prime Minister participated.
Supreme Ventures Limited donated the first $5 million towards the foundation of the building, which has already been done.
The CHASE Fund will construct a section of the performing arts centre on the ground floor, stage area with lighting and sound, a multipurpose seating area for 850 people, male and female restrooms, dressing rooms, floor area of approximately 6,338 sq. ft., at a contract value of $49.9 million.
In his address, the Prime Minister thanked the CHASE Fund, Supreme Ventures Limited, members of the Alumni Association and other donors for their contribution, enabling construction to begin before the official groundbreaking ceremony.
He also called on other donors and corporate groups who can assist, to donate towards additional segments of the plan.
“This is just going to do the first floor of this performing arts centre,” the Prime Minister noted.
For her part, Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Fayval Williams, said the groundbreaking marks another key milestone in the 73-year history of the school.
“As you know, any expansion of facilities on a school’s campus is important, as it addresses crucial needs. Your long history and reputation for excellence in musical and dramatic presentations will be further enriched by the expanded space and facilities. I’m sure you will also attract more students to your programmes. This will be a great asset for St. Catherine High,” Mrs. Williams said.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer, CHASE Fund, Billy Heaven, said they are delighted to be the major financial partner in this venture.
“We are fully aware of the positive impact that this centre will have on St. Catherine High School and indeed the wider Spanish Town and St. Catherine community,” he said.
“St. Catherine High School has undoubtedly made its mark on society in different areas, politics, sports, religion, entertainment, academia and other fields over the past 73 years, boasting a list of distinguished and notable alumni,” he added.
Principal, St. Catherine High School, Marlon Campbell, is excited about the new performing arts centre.
“This day is indeed a beautiful day. It is indeed heavenly. Mr. Billy Heaven and his Directors listened to us and responded in the affirmative and approximately two and a half years later, this is the fantastic result,” the Principal said.
“Many will ask if such a building is necessary and the answer to that is ‘yes’. When the bright minds are housed in spaces that are conducive to learning and exploration, they will learn and explore,” he added.
St. Catherine High School has, since its inception, produced numerous performers, such as: gospel artiste, Jermaine Edwards; dancehall artistes, Grace Hamilton, popularly known as Spice, and Michelle Downer, well known as D’Angel; and reggae artiste, Jamar McNaughton, popularly known as Chronixx.