After 23 years without an auditorium, the students at Wolmer's Boys' have had to endure the harsh weather conditions for Assembly and various presentations, which are held outdoors. Thanks to the initiative of the Wolmer's Trust, led by Trustee Douglas Orane, a new auditorium will become a reality by the end of the 2014/2015 school year.
This series entitled: “The Story Of The Wolmer's Auditorium" will highlight the members of the project team, most of whom are Wolmerians, and almost all of whom have donated their time free of cost to design and construct the Auditorium. We begin the series with Mr. Lauriston Jones (alum 1949 – 1955) who is the Quantity Surveyor on the project.
Laurie as he is affectionately called, attended Wolmer's between 1949 and 1955 on a government scholarship from Central Branch Primary. His early career plans were set in the sciences, but he decided to put that plan on hold after receiving a job right after leaving Sixth Form. He went to work at the Ministry of Works Public Works Department (PWD) on Maxfield Avenue, Kingston from 1955 to 1958 in the Water Supply and later the Irrigation & Drainage Branch. Laurie left PWD to begin his technical studies in the first cohort at the College of Arts, Science & Technology. He only spent two terms there as he won a government scholarship to pursue a Diploma course in quantity surveying at the Regent Street Polytechnic later to become the University of South London.
After graduating he took the examinations of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and became an Associate of the Institution in 1968. During this period he worked with a private quantity surveying firm R. T. Dadson and also at the London County Council and the National Building Agency. He returned to Jamaica in 1969 and took up a position at Rutkowski, Bradford & Partners a firm of Architects, Engineers and Quantity Surveyors in their quantity surveying section. Laurie moved on to the Ministry of Works in 1972 as Chief Quantity Surveyor, where he spent the next three years. In 1975, he left the Ministry and became a Partner in the quantity surveying firm B. G. W. Cawston & Partners, where he still is, nearly forty years later.
When he was asked why he was volunteering his time and expertise to the auditorium project, he said it was about time that he gave back to Wolmer's. He was approached by alum and civil engineer Tommy Lyew and he never hesitated. “I feel privileged to assist with the construction of the auditorium. When | attended Wolmer's there were about 300 students. I was surprised to learn that sixty years after I left, the Wolmer's schools now have a total enrollment of over 3,500 students, of whom 1500 are at the boys' school. What also struck me was seeing that most of the original buildings were still intact."
Laurie's message to current students: "Always keep up the fine tradition of Wolmer's. Being a Wolmerian is something to be proud of and our tradition requires that our standards be kept extremely high."