UTech, Jamaica Opens Shared Facilities Building

...Minister Announces Cabinet's Approval for Establishment of Law School at UTech, Jamaica

Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (1st left) cuts the ribbon marking the official opening of the Shared Facilities Building at the University of Technology, Jamaica Papine Campus on Thursday, December 14, 2017.  Looking on are  Chancellor, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga, ON, PC (forefront, 1st left), Mrs. Genefa Hibbert (right), Acting Chief Operations and Projects Officer, UTech, Ja. and (back row l-r)  Prof. Stephen Vasciannie, CD, President, UTech, Dr Wayne Henry, Director General, Planning Institute of Jamaica and Stephen Lawrence, Operations Officer, Caribbean Development Bank.

The University of Technology, Jamaica on Thursday, December 14, 2017 officially opened its Shared Facilities Building at a special ceremony held at the new facilities  located central west of the Papine campus.  The Shared Facilities Building which was commissioned into use at the start of the current Academic Year is one of the major infrastructural outcomes of the UTech, Jamaica Enhancement Project.

President, Professor Stephen Vasciannie, CD,  in his welcome explained that “the UTech Enhancement Project commenced in 2007 when the Government of Jamaica signed a loan agreement with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for a loan of US$25.87 million to fund the development project at the University.  The government undertook this investment as a grant to UTech, Jamaica to which the University provided counterpart funding of US$16.78 million to cover the life of the project.”

The UTech Enhancement Project proceeded under the three main components of Institutional Strengthening, Building and Civil Works, and Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment.

State-of the-art Facilities

The Shared Facilities Building is a shared learning and teaching space for all colleges and faculties.  It comprises 20 SMART classrooms, three state-of-the-art lecture theatres, computer laboratories, sanitary conveniences and an amphitheatre.

The President expressed gratitude to all persons and organizations who were involved at various levels and in various ways in contributing to the realization of the new Building, namely the Government of Jamaica, the CDB, Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the Project Steering Committee chaired by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and designers of the Shared Facilities Building, Apec Consultants Limited. 

Prof. Vasciannie also extended commendation to the UTech, Jamaica internal team led by the Project Management Unit and the many administrators from across the University including Procurement, Finance and Business Services, Technology and Information Management services and the Facilities Management Department.

Mr. Stephen Lawrence, Operations Officer (Civil Engineer), Social Sector Division, Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in his greeting, affirmed that “the Caribbean Development Bank in its commitment to Educational advancement within the Region, is pleased to have partnered with the Government of Jamaica in enhancing its capacity to provide quality tertiary education, through the expansion of facilities and upgrading of services, at the University of Technology, Jamaica, under the UTech Enhancement Project.”

Dr Wayne Henry in his remarks asserted that the completion of the UTech Enhancement Project is “a tangible representation of the strength and value of partnerships.”  He pointed to the objectives of the project for development of facilities and human resources as being “directly aligned with goals 1 and 3 of the Vision 2030 National Development Plan for Jamaica” which speak to Jamaicans being empowered to achieve their full potential and to economic development.  The PIOJ Director General also commended UTech, Ja. for “directly responding among other things to the call of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4” which speaks of inclusive, equitable and quality education for all.

 Cabinet Approval for Establishment of Law School at UTech, Jamaica


Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, CD, JP, Minister of Education, Youth and Information speaking at the opening of the UTech, Jamaica Shared Facilities Building on Thursday, December 14, 2017.  At right is a section of the large gathering at the Opening Ceremony.  In attendance were members of government and the private sector, members of UTech, Jamaica’s Council, vice presidents, deans, heads of schools and other members of faculty and administration.

Keynote speaker, Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, CD, JP in has addressed announced that Cabinet has given approval for the establishment of a law school at the University of Technology, Jamaica.  Addressing the issue of parity regarding the entry of UTech, Jamaica students into the Norman Manley Law School, the Minister said that the establishment of a law school at UTech, Jamaica is part of the Government's position of expanding opportunities for education and training of the workforce.  He noted further that the Norman Manley Law School has been unable to accommodate all the students who have been pursuing law degrees.  

Professor Vasciannie in welcoming the announcement said that “the new law school will allow graduates of the Faculty of Law to proceed with their lifelong dream of becoming Attorneys-at-Law” adding that, “it is something that I have pushed for quite some time.”   

In commending the infrastructural development on the campus and declaring the Shared Facilities Building opened, the Minister expressed confidence that it will be used “as a springboard to drive education, training and certification and to drive the empowerment of our workforce, increase productivity, growth and prosperity for Jamaica.”  

Lamenting that only about 19% of the population of youth aged 19 – 24 years are enrolled in tertiary intuitions and only 15% of the 1.375 million workforce with tertiary education, Minister Reid said that the “urgent task” of improving the current outlook will involve redefining early childhood education and other deliberate strategies including ensuring that persons with disabilities and the most vulnerable have an equal chance at educational opportunities.  “That’s my k-13 vision,” the Minister said, where “everybody gets a good start, primary, secondary and it goes right up to grade 13.” 

The Minister of Education also called for more emphasis on enrolment in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) areas at the tertiary level, which he noted are currently underrepresented.  “We need engineers for the Knowledge Processing Industry,” he stressed, adding that “we need to have all our students graduating with competencies in the use and application of technology.”

Tour of Facilities

 Classroom Block

Mrs. Genefa Hibbert (left),Chief Operations and Projects Officer (Acting), UTech, Ja. leads the tour along  a block of classrooms at the new Shared Facilities Building.  Accompanying the tour are Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid, Minister of Education, Youth and Information, Professor Stephen Vasciannie(right), President, followed behind by Mr Stephen Lawrence, Operations Officer, CDB, Dr Wayne Henry, Director General, PIOJ and other guests.

IT Lab

Prof. Stephen Vasciannie (left), President explains something of interest to Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid during a tour of one of the three state-of-the-art computer labs at the Shared Facilities Building.  Looking on from left are Mr Stephen Lawrence, Operations Officer, CDB, Mrs. Genefa Hibbert (left),Chief Operations and Projects Officer (Acting), UTech, Ja and Dr. Wayne Henry, Director General, PIOJ.

 Wheelchair Access


Senator the Hon. Ruel Reid (right) points with approval at the signage for the wheelchair access lift at the Shared Facilities Building.  Looking on from left are Mrs. Genefa Hibbert, Mr Stephen Lawrence, Dr. Wayne Henry and Prof. Stephen Vasciannie.



Michelle Beckford (Mrs.)
Corporate Communications Manager
University of Technology, Jamaica
Telephone: 970-5299
Email: mbeckford@utech.edu.jm