Saint John’s College Unveils State-of-the-Art STEAM Education Facility
Saint John’s College (SJC) now has a university with a brand-new ten-million-dollar building where STEAM education will be the focus. This morning, SJC held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Mirtha Alicia Peralta Hall, the newest addition to its infrastructure. The three-story building comprises of state-of-the-art classrooms, a nursing lab, a biology lab, and an engineering facility. The institution embarked on the project five years ago and sought to construct a STEAM facility to enhance its Science and Mathematics programs. SJC President Mirtha Alicia Peralta, whom the building was named in honor of, explained that the school added new courses to its curriculum that are being housed in the new building.
Mirtha Peralta, SJC President: “When we started the project we didn’t start with nursing and engineering and so that added on because we got the permission to go four years and so we have on the second floor we have a nursing lab and a nursing hall. We also have an engineering room, we have huge facilities for inorganic and organic chemistry, we have for biology, we have two math labs and we also have four classrooms. We also have two large conference halls, one for the university, one for the junior college, two faculty rooms, and huge spaces in terms of storage and preparatory rooms for our teachers and our students to be comfortable. The building, each floor is 15,000 square feet and so we have large classrooms. hallways for students to be gathering, for students to be studying, and of course we have several plazas and a parking for our students to be comfortable. We have been in existence from 1887 and in 1952 we opened the junior college and now we have expanded to a full-fledged university. When the Minister of Education, Honorable Francis Fonseca, granted us the approval it is approval to have undergraduate programs and graduate programs. And so in the next 50 years you can look out for a master’s degree, doctorate degree being offered here at St. John’s College. We are accredited because we also belong to the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities. And so we are alongside Georgetown University, Fordham University, and 27 other universities in the United States.”
SJC has been in existence since 1887 and has churned out numerous politicians, including Minister of Education, Francis Fonseca and Minister of Home Affairs, Kareem Musa. Today, the men spoke about the momentous occasion and the importance of expanding educational opportunities in the country.
Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education: “This is, I think, a historic day. Definitely a milestone for St. John’s College, as you all know. I mean, all Belizeans know that the Jesuits have been at the forefront of education in Belize for many decades and certainly it was important for us at the Ministry of Education and for me personally as the Minister of Education to give my full support to moving St. John’s College to really a final stage which is the bachelor’s degree program and making them a full-fledged university here in Belize. They have a proud tradition of quality education, delivering quality education to Belizeans, and so we wanted to build on that tradition and legacy. So I’m very happy that we now have the St. John’s College University, and of course today as well, they are inaugurating their science building. Again that’s another pillar of our education agenda, making sure that we are providing greater opportunities for students in Belize, young people in Belize and everyone really, to get access to science and technology education. So you know as a proud SJC boy myself, I’m very happy to join them today to offer my full support on behalf of the Ministry of Education and the Government of Belize.”
Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs: “It is truly an honor for me as the area representative and as a proud alumni of this institution, both the high school and the junior college. We’re talking about years since 1887 of a wonderful Jesuit education now expanding to the level of university and as you rightly said now going into the science and the mathematics and the types of research that so many of our young people are looking forward to that type of education.”
The building’s construction began in 2020.