(Sept. 11) Bananas are helping pay for a new school in Ecuador.

Dole Food Co. Inc., Westlake Village, Calif., is partnering with Bama Gruppen, Oslo, Norway, to finance a new school in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Groundbreaking was Sept. 4.

About 300 elementary students in the Rio Viejo Community in Ecuador’s Guayas Province are expected to attend the school, Ecuador Pais Amazónico.

Dole’s Education Program began in 2001 with the construction of its first school. Marty Ordman, vice president of marketing and communications for Dole, said the program has built a couple of schools and continues to make resources available to those schools.

This school will feature modern infrastructure, well-ventilated classrooms, recreational areas, teachers’ lounge, kitchen and cafeteria.

Dole is known for its banana production, and Ecuador is a large part of the banana industry. Many of the students who attend this school are members of families working in the banana industry.

“I think it says a lot that an industry would care about the communities involved,” Ordman said.