Holland Estates, Trelawny, will host the first satellite campus of the University of Technology's (UTech) School of Hospitality.
Janet Silvera, Senior Gleaner Writer
New chairman of the UTech Advisory Council, James Goren, made the announcement during the J$8-billion Holland Estates housing development groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday.
Goren and his brother Alex, operators of Zuccherina Developments, have partnered with Kencasa Construction and Project Management's Kirk Kennedy, with the aim of creating the country's first university town.
The developers propose to construct 1,385 habitable units varying in size from duplex studios, two- and three-bedroom detached units, and the university campus.
"It is my strong opinion that in the 21st century, a university must be global and attract students and professors from every corner of the globe. This campus will endeavour to do precisely that," stated Goren.
He noted that in a country where 60 per cent of the GDP is derived from services - 20 per cent from tourism, "we must ensure that we are doing all we can to train an elite team of professionals who will help maintain Jamaica's rightful place as a top Caribbean destination".
For the last two years, the UTech has fought hard to bring the west into its tertiary-education picture. Their bid to manage the Trelawny Multi-purpose Stadium is still being negotiated.
However, the battle has won them lands adjacent to the stadium, where they plan to set up a Faculty of Science and Sports. President of UTech, Professor Errol Morrison, said Sports Minister Olivia Grange has committed to giving the institution the land.
In the meantime, Holland Estates will house the initial component of the project, the College of Business and Management - Jamaica Western, with the School of Hospitality being the first offering. The Goren brothers have donated 10 acres of land to the university.
"We expect to accept our first batch of students by June 2011," said Morrison.
He estimated that in the first year, the school can accommodate between 500 and 1,000 students.
"It's important for persons living in the west to be able to develop their skills in their parish. This (university) will also give them a more affordable approach to live at home and attend," said the university president.
The school is like a dream come true for Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, who has bandied the idea of a hospitality institution since he took office in 2007.
Elated by the prospects, he said the most important aspect of what he had wanted to achieve during his tenure is to train and develop a cadre of workers who can compete on the world stage.
He promised the expertise of the Ministry of Tourism, noting, "We will partner with you in developing the hospitality school."