Holiday Break Allows Major Repairs to JESS with Students Away


Contractors work to repair a crumbling hallway ceiling at JESS, above.

Julius E. Sprauve School School students may have been on break out for the Christmas Holiday, but there was plenty of work getting done at the island’s main public school.

After months of progress on repairs to the school’s aging facilities, JESS Principal Dionne Wells was finally able to address some remaining major structural issues at the aging educational facility and the holidays were the perfect time to address them.

With students on vacation, workers were busy demolishing a failing plaster ceiling on the main walkway serving the top floor of the lower school building on the campus — one of Principal Wells’ major areas of concern. 

“Come take a look,” Wells said proudly when asked during Christmas break about her years-long effort to bring the campus in the center of Cruz Bay up to acceptable condition.

Crumbling concrete and plaster had been removed from the ceiling of the hallway usually crowded with lower school students by the beginning of Christmas week and workers were preparing to re-plaster the ceiling during the rest of the school vacation week after Christmas.

Built in the mid-1950s, Julius E. Sprauve School serves students in grades kindergarten through eight, but has had obvious structural issues visible across its campus. The condition of the school buildings brought the JESS Parent and Teacher Association to petition the Department of Education to address the problem after a meeting of parents, teachers and school officials in early 2013 and Principal Wells has worked to have many of the issues addressed.