Guy Benjamin School Parent Teacher Organization officials are still waiting to hear from the Department of Education about the status of the $300,000 Community Development Block Grant earmarked for a new cafetorium for the small elementary school in Coral Bay.
After almost losing the federal funds — which were originally granted in 2000 — due to a lack of activity on the project, the V.I. Legislature voted last month not to redirect the grant. Officials now must draw down on the account by August 2007, or risk losing the funds again.
GBS PTO members, however, have not been contacted by the Department of Education, who must sign off on the grant.
“We’re trying to get the Department of Education to communicate with us on where they stand with the grant,” said Kristen Cox, GBS PTO president.
Back to Drawing Board
Officials are heading back to the drawing board, as existing plans, which were drawn in 2000 by the Yssis Group, are expected to be scrapped all together.
“They were working on a building that was deemed suitable in 2000,” said Sharon Coldren, president of the Coral Bay Community Council, who is working on the project with the GBS PTO. “The plans are outdated and we need new plans – we need to start over. We will be doing an appropriate planning activity of conducting a needs-assessment at GBS in October.”
Considerable private funds will be combined with the federal grant to cover the cost of the project, Coldren added.
When the plans are devised, the decision will be collective, Cox explained.
“We’re going to have a meeting to discuss new plans and we’re going to figure out what is our best choice,” she said. “We need to plan collectively with the Department of Education, the GBS PTO and GBS Acting Principal Dionne Wells.”
Any other community organization interested in helping with the project is welcome to join, Cox added.
“We’re welcoming everyone to join in and donate their time to make sure that this project happens,” she said.
Residents or community groups interested in helping with the project should contact Cox at 693-5331.