The main campus for COSTAATT (College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago) will be moved from Melville Lane, Port of Spain (where it has been since its inception ten years ago) and relocated to Chaguanas where a new “expansive” $168 million facility is to be constructed.
This was disclosed at yesterday’s post-cabinet press conference by Minister of Tertiary Education and Skills Training, Fazal Karim.
In justifying the move, Karim said Government has been paying exorbitant sums in rent for the Port of Spain campus. “In total the College pays $13,473,108 annually for access to approximately 86,000 square feet of office and classroom space,” he said. This means that COSTAATT has paid over $144,148,332 to date for its Port of Spain campus, which caters for an enrollment of 4,181 students.
He said the monthly rent for COSTAATT’s current main campus on Melville Lane was $986,241. Furthermore, Government has been paying $70,518 monthly to lease space (6,132 square feet) in the Old Bretton Hall building for faculty offices, some members of staff and certain units. Government has also had to fork out $66,000 monthly to lease 22 classrooms at Bishop Anstey High School to accommodate the excess demand for evening classes, he said.
Construction of the facility, which would cost $167,993,059.66 VAT inclusive, “in the first phase”, would be done by NH International, the minister said. Work is expected to begin shortly, Karim added.
Karim said the new facility “will not be very far from the reaches of anyone “from the North, North Western parts or East” of Trinidad and Tobago. He said this was particularly so “because of the improved road network”. He said Government was committed to providing a shuttle service from the campus to the town centre.
Karim stressed that while the Melville Lane campus would be”relocated” to the new Chaguanas facility, COSTAATT would continue to have a presence along the East-West Corridor. He cited the Ken Gordon School of Journalism at Alcazar St , the Academy of Nursing and Applied Health at El Dorado, the evening campus at Bishops East and the Sangre Grande campus. He said staff members at Melville Lane campus were advised and supported the decision to move to Chaguanas.
“In terms of the new location, it signifies Government’s action towards the decentralisation of services,” he said. He said Government was also planning to establish COSTAATT facilities in Rio Claro and Fyzabad. He said he was certain that the rental costs for COSTAATT would be reduced when the new main campus is finished. —RT