A ceremony to name the new administration building on Virgin Gorda and hand over the keys took place last Thursday. (Photo: SCREENSHOT)

Keys to the refurbished Vanterpool Administration Building on Virgin Gorda — which will house nearly a dozen government offices — were handed over to the government during a naming ceremony last Thursday.

“We have now restored and improved five administration buildings across the sister islands. The Vanterpool Administration Building houses the majority of government services on Virgin Gorda,” said ceremony leader and sister islands programme coordinator Sasha Flax. “Today we are happy to be back in our permanent location, and we will continue to serve the Virgin Gorda community to the best of our ability.”

The building will house offices for the BVI Post, Inland Revenue, the Department of Labour and Workforce Development, the Immigration Department, the Department of Water and Sewerage, Environmental Health, the Department of Waste Management, the Civil Registry and Passport Office, the Social Development Department, the Office of the Premier and Visiting Ministers, and a conference room.

The rehabilitation of the building — which was badly damaged during Hurricane Irma — was led by the Recovery and Development Agency.

Vanterpool family

During the Thursday ceremony, Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration Minister Vincent Wheatley gave a brief history of the Vanterpool family, which he said has been living on the island since the 1800s.

“The Vanterpools were instrumental in a few things. The first radio on Virgin Gorda was owned by a Vanterpool. The first vehicle on Virgin Gorda was part-owned by a Vanterpool,” he said. “The Vanterpools have been involved in this community in many business sectors. That’s why it is fitting to name this building the Vanterpool Building.”

Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development Shereen Flax-Charles echoed Mr. Wheatley’s statements, adding that the Vanterpools worked together with other families to “create what we’re seeing here today.”

“At the end of the day, when the going gets tough, they come together as one,” she said.

She also thanked contractor Metro Construction and the RDA and said that government expects to see more services offered on Virgin Gorda and the other sister islands in the near future.

The repairs

Metro Construction was awarded a $1,410,670.69 contract for the works in October 2020.

Its work on the building included the complete renovation of the roof panels, ceilings, doors and windows; refurbishment of the sewage system; and the installation of a new cistern.

Metro managing director Brian Marshall called the project a success and thanked those who were involved.

Trojan Design and Development Limited senior architect Maurice Risco said that major design changes to the building included roof improvements, carpentry, floors, walls, ceilings, fixtures, fittings, and mechanical and electrical systems.

“This was an extensive rehabilitation project,” he added. “We have spent the last 14 months engaging the contractor, and it has been a very fruitful experience.”

The technical specifications to make the building more resilient were met, according to Mr. Risco.

$60m in projects

RDA Director of Strategy Dr. Neil Smith also mentioned the RDA’s other recent work, noting that before the end of this summer the agency will have contracted a total of $60 million.

“The pace has picked up considerably over the past year and a half,” he said. “You will see the tempo of projects coming through the RDA increasing almost exponentially.”

Training capacity

He urged residents to visit the agency’s website for opportunities to “come into the RDA” for capacity training.

“We want to train so that when the RDA is no longer there, that we’ll have the capacity,” he added.