Pictou Advocate: Anderson hopes work at East Pictou gets done

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Hope remains that work to transfer students to F. H. MacDonald School will proceed.

Gordon Anderson, who represents East Pictou on the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, said he hopes a decision will be made this year to renovate the school in order to accommodate students now attending East Pictou Middle School.

It’s the option preferred by parents so that their children can continue to attend schools in the area through Grade 8 before transferring to North Nova Education Centre in New Glasgow when they reach Grade 9.

Anderson, who is also the school board’s vice-chairman, said he hopes the work can proceed as part of a plan to close East Pictou Middle School, where students in Grades 6 to 8 attend and which is mostly vacant. The school complex was once called East Pictou Rural High School, whose original building opened for classes in 1952.

Meanwhile, operations director Kevin Steeves said he is optimistic the work will go ahead as part of the province’s 2016-17 capital budget.

“The province puts out capital projects in the fall and plans can go ahead as originally envisioned,” he said.

F.H. MacDonald school has enough vacant space to house the middle school students.

Anderson has repeatedly pointed out that the job would be similar to what took place at Dr. W.A. MacLeod School in Riverton, which is now a consolidated school with students up to Grade 8 after middle school students were moved there from the former Highland Consolidated Middle School in Westville.

The same design was used to build both the MacDonald and MacLeod schools.

Anderson was commenting on the project after the MacDonald one was not among those approved for provincial capital repairs funding last week.

The only school on the list from Pictou County was Thorburn Consolidated, to replace its windows.

Anderson said the replacement has been sorely needed at the school for years.

An education department spokesperson said school boards submit a list of capital construction project requests. The province reviews them and releases its decisions on new schools and renovations as part of its capital plan, which is usually released in late fall.

The school board at its meeting on June 8 at Pictou Academy approved its own list for deferred maintenance includes several Pictou County schools in its 2016-17 budget.

A single-walled cylinder in the elevator at A.G. Baillie Memorial will be replaced, while work will continue to replace a ceiling at Pictou Academy and there is also money for a walkway at Thorburn Consolidated.

The former Linacy school building is also scheduled to be demolished.

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