The University of the Common-wealth Caribbean, UCC, has secured 25 acres of land at Caymanas Estate, on the outskirts of Kingston, to be developed as a knowledge city and edu-tourism venture, in partnership with CHEC.
The development is part of a wider plan for a Caymanas New Town planned by the Government of Jamaica on 1,200 acres of the expansive estate, UCC Chairman Dr Winston Adams disclosed.
The UCC development itself is aimed at a new target market of international and Caribbean students, and while the UCC chairman says the costing for the project is not yet finalised, he said part of the financing is expected to come from the floating of shares in a UCC subsidiary via an initial public offering on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
CHEC did not respond immediately to a request for comment, neither did the Urban Development Corporation, which owns the more than 10,000-acre Caymanas Estate.
The knowledge city project awaits sign-off by the Cabinet.
The New Town project is reportedly being spearheaded by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation. Adams said his UCC Global Campus/Knowledge City component will be developed by Chinese construction company CHEC under the build-operate-transfer model.
In this regard, “UCC will pay a yearly lease amount to the developers,” he said, while noting that the “projected development cost has not yet been finalised”. Ground breaking for construction of the campus is expected in early 2019, while project completion is expected by September 2020.
The facility, as proposed, is expected to host satellite campuses of a number of US and UK universities that will offer undergraduate, graduate degree and other professional development programmes, Adams said.
The UCC signed a formal letter of intent with CHEC in 2017 to build the campus, Adams said. The new campus will include construction of the Caribbean’s first Centre of Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
In this regard, UCC Global Campus and the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology – a non-profit university in Pennsylvania, United States – are working together on a model of STEM education and training, said Adams.