September 13, 2023
The Virgin Islands Department of Education is pleased to announce a significant milestone in the construction of the new Arthur A. Richards PreK-8 School site. “We witnessed the groundbreaking of this site on February 23rd of this year. Today represents a significant stage of progress as the first concrete pour is underway. The construction of a new school in the District of St. Croix is a monumental event for the territory, as it has been decades since we have witnessed such a development,” said Commissioner Dionne Wells-Hedrington.
Commissioner Wells-Hedrington further stated, “Our students deserve new schools, it is time, and I am immensely thankful for the efforts of all partners who worked tirelessly to get us to this point.”
Key partners in this project, both on a federal and local level, include the New Schools Construction Advisory Board, MCN Build, the DLR Group, Witt O’Brien’s, the Office of Disaster Recovery, FEMA, VITEMA, VIHFA, the Department of Public Works, and the Department of Education staff, including Architect Chaneel Callwood-Daniels.
The previous Arthur A. Richards Jr. High School was severely damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, leading to its demolition. The new Arthur A. Richards PreK-8 School is a substantial $163 million project that will provide state-of-the-art learning spaces spanning 145,000 sq. ft. The school will be relocated to the former site of the Evelyn M. Williams Elementary School.
Commissioner Dionne Wells-Hedrington highlighted that this project goes beyond reconstruction and that it sets a higher standard for learning and instructional environments. “The Virgin Islands Department of Education aims to transform the lives of its students, recognizing that appropriate facilities play a crucial role in their development as our future leaders. This new school for the District of St. Croix will pave the way for 21st-century learning spaces in the U.S. Virgin Islands,” said Commissioner Dionne Wells-Hedrington.
Providing essential support on this project is the design-build contractor MCN Build. The design-build team was awarded the contract to construct the proposed new Arthur A. Richards PreK-8 School. The proposed design consists of 8 buildings in 3 phases:
• Phase 1: Utility building, gym (also serving as a shelter), PreK building, and the commons building.
• Phase 2: K-5 building A, K-5 building B, and the Administrative building.
• Phase 3: The final phase encompasses the construction of the 6 – 8 middle school building, hardscape, landscape, and a multi-purpose field.
Additionally, the project will include an underground cistern with a 250,000-gallon capacity on the Northeast of the site, along with retaining walls on the west and northwest sides of the property. The next significant stage of work will involve the installation of the foundation for the utility building.
For more information about the Arthur A. Richards PreK-8 School and the Department of Education’s plans to build new schools in the Virgin Islands, please visit www.newschoolsvide.com.