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Building on success

The Maria Holder Trust will invest close to three million dollars to construct a new Parkinson Community Centre.

During a press briefing at the community centre in the Pine, St. Michael this morning, Accounting Officer in the Ministry of Social Care, Bruce Alleyne, disclosed the figure. He said the estimated cost to demolish and construct the new building was $2,978,500.49.

Architect of the project, Stanton Haynes, said the building needed to be demolished because of its age, in particular the floor was weakened and was a hazard for large gatherings in the auditorium. When rebuilt, it would be twice its present size and will consist of a ground and a first floor. The ground floor will house offices, training rooms, an Internet room, a computer room and dressing rooms, while the first floor will consist of a hall, conference room, a stage, changing rooms, a sound proof room, bar, kitchenette. Both floor will be fully assessable to the differently able. There will also be a children’s play facility and new parking facilities.

Trustee for the foundation, Michael Russell, said the project was originally scheduled to commence in April this year but was delayed due to processes.

“We are going to do this project,” he assured and the process to select a project manager had begun and soil would be turned by “September 1 the very latest”.

Russell told Barbados TODAY that Maria Holder, who was originally from Switzerland, lived in Barbados for 35 years. She died in Europe in 2004 and as a sign of her everlasting love for the island she was burried here. He said too that her son, Christopher Holder, who was also a regular visitor, wanted her memory to live on here and in 2008 created the trust.

“It’s all in her memory; they wanted to do something good on the island to highlight her love for it. I think we are going to be here for a long time,” Russell said.

Since its establishment, the Maria Holder Trust had provided funding for a wide range of other projects, including the nursery school at Sharon now called the Maria Holder Memorial Nursery School, the YWCA Breakfast programme, Verdun House and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

Chief Project Manager of the trust, Jane Armstrong, said their aim was to contribute to education, health, poverty alleviation, culture and arts in the country hence they are now in dialogue with the Ministry of Education to construct six more nursery schools and would soon start a project with the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, who was also present, expressed gratitude to the trust for their contribution to community development.

After the press briefing the party toured the Ivy Community Centre in the Ivy, St. Michael and the Andrew Alleyne Community Centre in Station Hill, potentially the next two centres to be upgraded by the trust. (KC)

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