The Office of Disaster Recovery has announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through its Public Assistance Program has approved $11,607,385 to refurbish the Virgin Islands Department of Public Works (DPW) Anna’s Hope Compound on St. Croix and its office building on St. John.
Several areas on the St. Croix grounds sustained irreparable damage during the 2017 storms. The location serves as the hub of the department’s operations and contains various offices essential to executing DPW’s mission. The administration, transportation and construction buildings suffered the most significant impact, with costs exceeding $7 million to repair or replace damaged components and contents.
The St. John building suffered extensive damages when the roof was destroyed during the hurricanes exposing the agency’s second-floor offices to the elements. Demolition is complete, and the contractor, J. Benton Construction LLC, is currently awaiting the necessary supplies to complete the remaining temporary repairs.
Staff will be able to return to the offices before the end of the year.
Derek Gabriel, commissioner designee for the Department of Public Works said, “Since hurricanes Irma and Maria, the department has been focused on recovery efforts for the larger community, working with our local and federal partners to secure critical funds for infrastructure and community projects. It is important for us, as a department, to also take care of our team. These funds will give us the opportunity to construct office spaces that we can be proud of and meets the needs of the public.”
Renovations to the Anna’s Hope Compound include the replacement of galvanized roofing, insulation, ceiling tiles, lighting, windows, air conditioning units, electrical elements and painting. The compound’s emergency generator will also be replaced.
The design work for the Anna’s Hope location has commenced and should be complete by September. Shortly thereafter, a solicitation for the reconstruction of the St. Croix offices will be drafted and put out to bid. The project should be complete by June 2023.
“The staff at the Department of Public Works has been executing their duties in hurricane-ravaged facilities on St. Croix and St. John sharing spaces and piecing together what they can to maintain operations,” said Adrienne L. Williams-Octalien, Office of Disaster Recovery director. “This obligation will restore both offices, ensuring the continuation of services on all three islands in the event of a disaster.”
DPW’s two-story facility on the corner of Centerline and Gift Hill Road on St. John also houses the Emergency Operations Center for the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency.