Governor Bryan Sends Down Proposed Legislation for Land Swap With National Park Service to Construct St. John School

U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS — On Thursday, June 8, Governor Albert Bryan Jr. sent down to the 35th Legislature his proposed legislation for a land swap with the National Park Service (NPS) that will allow the Government of the Virgin Islands (GVI) to construct a much-needed K-12 school on St. John.

Governor Bryan said the Territory has been trying to find land for a school on St. John for 50 years and the agreement with the NPS will be ready to move forward by July 1 if the 35th Legislature acts expeditiously to approve his proposal.

“After half a century of setbacks and obstacles, our collective goal of establishing a secondary school on the island of St. John is at last a reality. This historic achievement is the result of the culmination of decades of work, spanning numerous administrations and requiring leadership from public servants across the nation,” Governor Bryan said in his transmittal letter to Senate President Novelle Francis Jr. “The gravity of the calling we share in protecting and providing for future generations has never been more apparent. Our opportunity to safeguard the future of education for our children is upon us.”

The Governor’s proposed legislation calls for the exchange of Tract No. 02-101 Whistling Island a/k/a Whistling Cay, St. John, from the GVI to the U.S. Department of Interior in exchange for the NPS’s conveyance of a portion of Tract No. 01-137A Catherineberg (Hammer’s Fann), St. John, to the GVI in order to construct a public school.

Also under the Governor’s proposed legislation, the GVI will retain the water rights to Whistling Cay, and the proceeds received in the form of an equalizing payment of $210,000 from the National Park Service will be appropriated to the St. John Capital Improvements Fund.

As part of the Territory’s recovery from hurricanes Irma and Maria, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be funding the construction of a modern K-12 school facility with all of the associated amenities.

“This facility will serve the community of St. John, not just as a school, but it will also provide a hardened hurricane shelter, a meeting space for public assemblies, and athletic facilities for the people of St. John,” Governor Bryan wrote in the transmittal letter. “The acquisition of this property will allow us to position the school in a convenient location for students, and finally enable St. Johnians to graduate from high school on their home island of St. John.”

The Bryan-Roach Administration is investing in the Territory’s people, infrastructure and future through transparency, stabilizing the economy, restoring trust in the government and ensuring that recovery projects are completed as quickly as possible. Visit