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Wolmer's Auditorium Dedication This Week

The Right Reverend Dr Howard Gregory, Diocesan Bishop of Jamaica and The Cayman Islands, will, this week, preside over the dedication of the new, state-of-the-art Wolmer's auditorium during the school's Founder's Day celebrations.

The dedication of the auditorium, slated for 5 p.m. on Thursday at Wolmer's Boys' School, North Heroes Circle, will include greetings from Wolmerian and mayor of Kingston, Senator Dr Angela Brown Burke, and chairman of the Wolmer's Trust, Milton Samuda.

An update will also be provided on the auditorium project by Wolmerian, Douglas Orane.

The result of the combined effort of several stakeholders, led by Orane, the Wolmer's auditorium has been funded by major donors, as well as a wide cross section of Wolmerians and friends.

The 11,840-square-foot building will accommodate 2,300 persons standing, or 1,800 seated, and will be able to host major events for the three Wolmer's schools, as well as be available for rental to provide a source of income for the schools.

The building was designed by Wolmerian, architect Paul Thorburn, to be environmentally friendly and economical to operate: rainwater will be collected from the roof and stored in an underground tank, and solar panels on the roof will contribute to saving energy for the auditorium and the schools.

The auditorium replaces the assembly hall that was destroyed by fire on January 7, 1991.

Construction of the facility started in August 2014 at a cost of $171 million under the guidance of an alumni-led team.

Wolmer's Boys' To Get New Auditorium

Wolmer's Trust High School for Boys yesterday signed a construction contract with Bruce English & Associates to build a modern new auditorium funded by donations.

The 11,800 square-foot building, which will accommodate up to 2,300 people, will have a stage for theatrical performances, a mezzanine floor, and meeting rooms. The multipurpose facility is large enough to accommodate a basketball court and facilitate other indoor sports. The building should be completed by April 2015.

Dr Walton Small, principal of Wolmer's Boys' School, describing the development as exciting, said, "For over 23 years, the school has not had an auditorium since the previous wooden hall was destroyed by fire in January 1991. At last, the boys will be out of the sun and rain for their morning assembly."

He expressed his gratitude to board of trustees, alumni, parents and friends of Wolmer's, who he said were making the auditorium possible through their donations.

"In particular, my gratitude to trustee Douglas Orane, who is leading the fundraising initiative."

FUNDED BY DONATIONS

Orane said the auditorium is being funded completely from donations.

"There are alumni who have so far been generous in their contributions to date. We now need every member of the Wolmer's family to contribute - no matter how small - to make our dream become a reality," he said.

The facility will be used by all three Wolmer's Trust schools, namely the boys' high school, the girls' high school, and the preparatory school. It will also be available for rental to third parties for functions to help generate income for the schools

Rising From The Ashes - Wolmer's Boys' School New Auditorium No Longer A Dream

KINGSTON, Jamaica:

It is 7 a.m. on Monday, January 7, 1991 and Negash Davidson, first former at Wolmer’s Boys’ School makes his trek to school, ready for a new term.

What he thought would be a regular day has been one of the most eventful in the school’s history. “As I turned the corner of Marescaux Road onto National Heroes Circle, I saw clouds of smoke coming from the direction of the assembly hall and when I reached the campus, students and teachers gathered and watched in distress as firefighters doused the flames,” Davidson recounted.

Twenty-four years later, Monday and Friday morning assemblies evoke mixed feelings among students who stand in the sun for the duration. However, at the same time they gladly meet graduates who are making a change.

“We have been without a suitable auditorium for 24 years and I am happy that the students will be out of the sun and rain for morning assembly as of May this year,” said Dr Walton Small, Principal.

Construction of the state-of-the-art facility started in August 2014 at a cost of $171-million under the guidance of an alumni-led team. The facility will cover 11,840 square feet, accommodate 2,300 students standing and 1,800 seated and will be available for use by Wolmer’s Girls’ and Wolmer’s Preparatory Schools as well as the Boys’ School.

Douglas Orane, Chairman of the fundraising committee noted that the auditorium seemed elusive to many, but it is no longer a dream. “Wolmer’s has helped to mould several influencers and we have been able to galvanise support within the local and international alumni communities, parents, corporate Jamaica, trustees, and friends of Wolmer’s in a push to construct a modern auditorium.”

“We need $34-million to complete the project and there are a range of intensive fundraising activities underway. One such initiative is a brick drive led by the Parent Teacher Association which allows donors to engrave a message on a brick for a minimum contribution of $10,000,” he said.

Architectural design is geared at sustainability as it includes natural ventilation for the main auditorium space in addition to a solar electricity system on the roof which will save the school approximately one-third of its energy bill. Additionally, water harvesting from the roof will lead to an underground tank which will augment the school’s water supply.

Dr Small is elated that the new facility will enrich the students’ experience.

“The auditorium will host school functions such as graduations, performances and assemblies. Furthermore, our students who play badminton, basketball and volleyball and participate in the performing arts will now have a new home,” he said.

The facility will be outfitted with a mezzanine floor inclusive of two meeting rooms which will be employed as additional teaching space.

Akeem Bennett, Head Boy commented, “It’s great to see how Wolmerians, parents, corporate bodies and friends of Wolmer’s have united to make this auditorium a reality. We are really delighted and can’t wait for the opening!”

Negash Davidson is equally excited about the auditorium and said, “We lost a lot of history with that fire, but we now have the opportunity to build and grow on what's to come. More importantly, this building will aid in the development of great future Wolmerians.”

Wolmer's Boys' School Breaks Ground For New Auditorium

The Wolmer's Boys' School in Kingston is hoping that the construction of its multimillion-dollar auditorium will open the window for students to be more rounded, especially in the creative arts.

Principal Dr Walton Small, who was speaking with The Gleaner following yesterday's ground-breaking ceremony at the institution, noted that the lack of space restricted some aspects of extracurricular activities.

"We have been limited in terms of the students expressing their artistic abilities because we do not have the space and so with this [auditorium], we are going to see a different side of Wolmer's,"said the principal of the 285-year-old institution.

"Our students will be excelling even more in the performing arts and indoor sporting events because we do not only believe in academic development, but we are of the opinion that a student should understand the importance of balance," he declared.

He added: "When we have activities that require students being outdoors, we have to transport them all the way up to a facility near Stony Hill, and it is really expensive, both financially and physically, and so I'm looking forward to great things."

Small also appealed to organisations and various businesses to assist in filling a $43-million gap in meeting the $170-million target for building the auditorium.

Education Minister Ronald Thwaites, who was the guest speaker at the event, implored persons in the education sector to do all they can to enhance the holistic development of students.

"In addition to the academics, let us embark on initiatives within our schools that will build the character of our students. One cannot overemphasise how important it is for our youth to be driven in purpose and accomplishment," he said.

"I also encourage persons who are members of churches to find Jesus outside of your sanctuaries and go into the schools because it is there you will engage with the little children and fulfil the mandate of Christ," he urged.