One of Jamaica’s “most famous educational institutions”, Convent of Mercy Academy “Alpha”, is now on a drive to raise Jam $14 million to design and construct a new entrance and gateway to improve safety.
A Jamaica Observer report said in recent years, the flow of vehicular traffic at the Catholic institution has increased significantly and poses a hazard for students, Principal Kali McMorris said through Alpha Alumni Jamaica Chapter President Stacey Williams.
“The current access gate was built for a much smaller population. There are no safe spaces for drop-offs for the primary students, and the entry to cross a gully into the academy has no pedestrian walkway. There is also the issue of the driveway being very narrow and barely [able to] accommodate two vehicles. There isn’t enough room for the students to traverse the area while vehicles are entering and exiting,” McMorris explained.
Alpha, which on May 1 marked its 143rd anniversary, has raised approximately Jam $3 million and is seeking the public’s assistance in reaching the target.
Along with the Convent of Mercy Academy “Alpha”, the campus on South Camp Road in Kingston also houses Alpha Infant, Alpha Primary, Alpha School of Music and Vocational Training Centre (formerly Alpha Boys’ Home), and Alpha Commercial College. The combined student population is more than 4,000.
McMorris said the proposed expansion and beautification exercise are appropriate solutions for the challenges faced by the students, teachers, and parents daily.
“The architectural design, while solving these very important student safety issues, is also featuring the historic nature of the institutions and the campus. Eventually the campus will have two other similar entrances – north to service the institute and Jessie Ripoll Primary, and in the east to service Alpha Infant School and the new site of Alpha Primary School,” the principal said. McMorris added that Alpha continues to grow, remaining a centre of excellence for education and culture.
Williams also reported St George’s College Class of 1964 member Hervin Chung as saying that Alpha “has always been ahead of its time in its educational output”.
“For decades, the compound housed five separate educational institutions. Anything that enhances the security and progress of Alpha is worth supporting. As an institution, it has maintained a very high quality of educational output, ranking among the very best as a high school and in each educational branch,” Chung said.