New Construction

U.S. Virgin Islands to Build First New School in Almost 30 Years

Architecture firm DLR Group recently announced that in partnership with the Virgin Islands Department of Education, it held a groundbreaking ceremony on Feb. 23 for a new PreK–8 school in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. The $159-million, 145,000-square-foot project will be the first new school construction in the territory in almost 30 years, according to a news release.

“It’s been a long road to get to this point, and in the wake of two back-to-back storms, we have been presented with the opportunity and the resources to make this day possible,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Dionne Wells-Hedrington. “The new Arthur Richards PreK–8 School will set the bar for schools across the Caribbean, allowing us to transform today’s learners into tomorrow’s leaders.”

Virgin Islands Arthur Richards PreK–8 School
Renderings Courtesy of DLR Group

The new school will stand at the site of the former Evelyn M. Williams Elementary School, according to the news release. DLR Group and the Department of Education are also partnering with the MCN/Perkins Eastman Design Build team, as well as local architecture firm Jaredian and local builder GEC.

“Seven years ago, we had no idea what we were going to do with this site, and here we are today, getting ready to break ground on the first new school in thirty years,” said Governor Albert Bryan Jr. “It has taken a long time to get to this point and we have so much more work to do. So today, as we dig this earth, let’s make a solid promise to ourselves that we are going to be part of the team focused on moving the Territory forward.”

Virgin Islands Arthur Richards PreK–8 School

According to Office of Disaster Recovery Director Adrienne Williams-Octalien, federal partners including FEMA—as well as allowances within the Bipartisan Budget Act—helped make the construction possible. “FEMA has approved the replacement of seven schools in both districts, to include the Claude O. Markoe School in Frederiksted,” she said. “We are grateful for the opportunity afforded to us by our federal partners, not just to rebuild, but to transform the Territory’s education system and provide an environment for our children to learn, develop, and grow.”

The project is scheduled for completion in July 2025, according to the news release.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].