Virgin Islands Schools Unveil New Science Labs
BY SEAN MCCOY (DAILY NEWS STAFF)
Published: October 7, 2011
ST. THOMAS – Students across the territory will have access to new science laboratories because of federal stimulus funding.
Two of 18 new science labs were unveiled to the public Thursday morning at Charlotte Amalie High School. The new labs have been installed in 10 schools across the territory:
The new classrooms cost about $3 million and were paid for with stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
"We can take a building that has been here for a very long time and create a state-of-the-art facility," said Education Commissioner LaVerne Terry, as she spoke at the unveiling at Charlotte Amalie High School.
Charlotte Amalie High School principal Carmen Howell said she was pleased with the quality of the renovation. She added that she was pleased that the labs were opened before the school will be evaluated for accreditation by the Middle States Association in the coming weeks.
"I truly have to say, 'Wow, what a difference,' " Howell said.
CAHS Science Department Chairwoman Nneka Howard said the upgraded science labs are a dream come true.
"The new labs have inspired feelings of pride and excitement" among the students, she said.
Advanced Placement science student Uchenna Ofoha called the renovation "an amazing improvement."
"When I walked in here yesterday, I was flushed with excitement and enthusiasm for the rest of the school year," she said. "These improvements have made my goals much easier to achieve."
The project was completed by Atlanta-based LOC Scientific, which completed the installation in about two weeks after receiving 11 containers of supplies on Sept. 9, according to CEO Wayne Nichols.
The rooms already had been prepared for the installation, he said. Demolition of the old labs had begun in July.
Nichols said the new rooms contained ventilation hoods, safety showers and eyewash stations, ergonomic chairs, cabinets that are dry coated and painted to industrial standards and countertops impervious to most chemicals, among other features.
Gov. John deJongh Jr., speaking at the opening of the labs, said the project was a perfect use of the federal funding.