A Testament to Timely Project Management: Celebrating the New WIC Facility
The new Women, Infants and Children Building at the Department of Health’s Knud Hansen Complex in St. Thomas is a testament to the results that can be obtained through the concerted, collaborative efforts of various government agencies.
The $3.7 million dollar building was constructed from funds awarded in 2018 through the Bipartisan Budget Act by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and encompasses 5,200 square feet.
Dr. Nicole Craigwell-Syms, assistant commissioner in the V.I. Department of Health, served as the mistress of ceremonies for Wednesday's event, remarking to the assembled audience that this was her first experience of a “360” project, from ground-breaking to ribbon cutting. She described the event as a “momentous occasion,” a sentiment shared by Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion.
Ms. Encarnacion emphasized the importance of the WIC program to the community, noting that it provides crucial nutritional support for mothers, children and other family members. “WIC helps parents feed their children well during critical periods of growth and development,” she said, listing services such as nutritional assessment, nutrition counseling and education, as well as the provision of nutritious foods and referrals to other services. The benefits of the program, she added, last long after families leave the WIC umbrella.
Noting that reconstruction work began just over a year ago, Ms. Encarnacion proudly noted that “we committed to completing the project on time – and we did,” crediting the “grade-A project management team” in the Department of Health, who she said held weekly meetings with contractor J. Benton Construction LLC over the life of the project to ensure that things were moving forward on schedule.
Office of Disaster Recovery Director Adrienne Williams-Octalien was all smiles, as she declared that she loves ribbon-cutting ceremonies more than her second-favorite event – groundbreakings. She noted that the timely completion of the project proves that the local government is a “good steward of federal dollars.” She joked that the territory could now use this success to push for additional funding. “That means that when we come knocking, just give us some more.”