The Sandhill Community Centre will be renovated and converted into a resource centre (L-r) Hon. Edmond Castro, Ms. Vanencia Gongora, Sandhill Village Councilís Chairlady and SIFís Daniel Cano, break ground for the new Sandhill Recouce Centre

Hon. Edmund Castro, Area Representative for Belize Rural North and Minister of State in the Ministry of Works and Transport, broke ground on the Sandhill Resource Center Project on Sunday, June 3. Over 400 students in Sandhill Village will soon be able to enjoy the latest computer technology and Internet service to do their school work in a pleasant environment. The initiative is part of a government project that aims to rehabilitate the villageís community centre into a fully equipped resource centre that will serve the students, who currently have to go as far as Belize City to do their research due to the lack of computer and internet resources in the village.

The project is one that Minister Castro is extremely proud of. He said that there is no library currently in the village. He has been long aware that there are students from the village, who have to stay late in the city to use the public libraries there and it has been his goal to put that to an end. The fully equipped resource center will be a great asset for Sandhill and surrounding communities.

The project entails the rehabilitation of the existing community centre including the addition of a one room extension to serve as a kitchen for skills training. A temporary partition to facilitate mobile health clinics will also be installed. The renovated facility will also house a library, which will be equipped with six computers, a printer, a photocopier, software and accessories plus Internet service. A wide assortment of reference books will be donated towards the library and a few members of the community will be identified and trained by the National Library Service to serve as volunteer librarians. Study desks and chairs for both children and adults will be inserted. There will also be a stove and refrigerator for the women's group in the village.

Sandhill is located on the Northern Highway and runs from the Burrel Boom junction with the Northern Highway at Mile 14 up to Mile 22. The village was established during the heyday of the logwood and mahogany industries in the later part of the 19th century due to its proximity to the Belize River. However, with the downfall of these industries residents now commute to Belize City, Ladyville and Orange Walk to work. The village has approximately 1,800 inhabitants.

The Sandhill Resource Center Project will be implemented by the Social Investment Fund and financed by the Government of Belize through a $239,000 loan from the Caribbean Development Bank.

The Reporter