The spotlight was shone on the new state college buildings being constructed at Stock Farm, when Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit toured the site on Monday morning and gave reporters an update on the proposed new facility.
The new state college headquarters, being built with a $30 million dollar loan from the Chinese government, is expected to be completed by December 2013.
According to Prime Minister Skerrit, the loan was attained on very concessional terms.
Several of the structures are in various stages of construction, while foundation work is still being carried out in other parts of the compound.
“We are building this facility at a time when the world itself has been grappling with the worst economic crisis the world has seen in its existence. The government has taken a deliberate decision to invest in our people,” the prime minister said while touring the site.
“The government is very pleased with the progress and the quality of the work. Clearly the structures are more expansive than one would have imagined based on the drawings and the conceptual designs,” PM Skerrit said.
He indicated that the Chinese contractors were, as the project went along, being asked to do “additional things” and they were responding positively to those requests.
The prime minister said such a facility was long overdue.
“We cannot continue to have our students in our premiere institution in the second decade of 21st century having to receive tuition in these (current) buildings – clearly we have to do better than that,” he said.
The prime minister said this modern state of the art facility would help further the thrust towards the acquisition of universal access to tertiary education “in so far as an associate degree is concerned”.
“We are investing in the young people of this country. And this is a commitment of the government, and is a commitment of the Dominica Labour Party in respect to advancement and investment in our young people,” the prime minister told reporters.
He indicated that the overall loan portfolio under which the state college facility was being built was $40 million, with the prime minister explaining why he found it necessary to acquire that kind of funding from the Chinese government.
The new campus when completed is expected to have “universal access to the internet” to allow students easy access through their laptops and blackberries to carry out needed research.