Our Grand Old Admin Lady
By Professor Bridget Brereton
This grand building which we are rededicating today is a mature lady, 85 years old this year. From the start, it has been the flagship building of the two institutions of learning which have occupied the St Augustine campus: ICTA and UWI.
ICTA, or rather the WIAC as it was first named, opened its doors in October 1922, long before this building began to be constructed (the refurbished Old Yaws Hospital, in the area now occupied by the Bookshop building, was used as its temporary accommodation). But from the start, the first Principal, Sir Francis Watts, wanted ‘a central block of reasonably dignified proportions’ to house the library, classrooms and laboratories, and administration offices. The architect was British (Major Corlette), probably chosen because he’d designed the new government buildings in Kingston after the devastating earthquake in 1907. As Watts put it, ‘a dignified building is essential to secure the confidence and respect of the public,’ and this was the brief for the architect. He opted for ‘the Spanish Colonial style.’.... read more>>