UWI FIC expansion project set to begin in late 2024 with global interest in its design and construction

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(Photo courtesy UWI Five Islands website)
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By Robert A. Emmanuel

[email protected]

The first phase of the expansion project of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Five Islands Campus is slated to begin in 2024, as numerous construction companies from around the world have begun expressing interest and submitting their bids.

Colin John Jenkins is the project coordinator and one of the main presenters at the UWI Five Islands town hall meeting last Thursday, where insight was given into the planning process for the dormitories and other facilities expected to be built as part of a Saudi-funded US $80 million loan.

“The project has two elements to it in the first phase, so for the first phase, it involves the relocation of the [Five Islands] Primary School from its current location to the southwestern portion of the area.

“Part of phase one [will be] the dorms as well as the lecture facilities; they also have sporting centres as well as administration areas that has to be developed,” Jenkins explained.

He noted that the project has received interest from 25 international architectural and engineering firms to develop designs in line with the master plan produced by US firm, Sasaki.

“The first phase is expected to begin at the end of next year, the designing of that first phase is roughly 12 months, and currently is out to tender and should be back by December 15.

“The process of tender is an open package—companies would have to partner with local firms as well because of the nature of the project,” he explained.

Jenkins noted that both the Development Control Authority and Environment Division have been consulted on the master plan where issues such as the need for an environmental and social impact assessment.

“Some of the areas that they highlighted had to do with hydrology, climate change considerations, acoustical considerations, waste considerations, air quality, location and transportation,” he said.

Adding to the consideration raised by government agencies, members of the community were given a chance to raise their own concerns over the project.

According to Jenkins, Former Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, who represented the constituency as a Member of Parliament, expressed elation over the plans established for the area and continued to press for the establishment of a Five Islands Secondary School.

“Because they want to focus on the humanities, so it would be only logical to have primary and secondary schools in the area to complement what is being offered,” the project coordinator told our newsroom.

The relocation of the Five Islands Primary School as part of Phase One is expected to take two years of construction effort with the second and third phase beginning after.

According to Jenkins, the relocated school is expected to have 21 classrooms, capable of holding 20 students per room, be climate resilient, and provide accessibility amenities.

Meanwhile, the construction of the UWI dormitories was projected to have at least 200 beds to accommodate regional and international students, with potentially being more added as the campus sees increases in foreign students.

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