One more step was taken Friday toward building a new school in New Glasgow.
Justice Minster Ross Landry confirmed the Dexter government’s $18 million investment in the project to build a new school to replace three aging ones on the town’s east side during a class assembly in the New Glasgow Junior High School gym.
“I feel it’s getting closer,” said Jamie Stevens, New Glasgow’s representative on the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board. “I’m happy we’re getting this commitment from the government. It’s good to have this excitement and I’m looking forward to the sod-turning.”
The new P-8 school announcement also confirms the commitment by the previous Tory government in 2009 to build a P-9 school for a scheduled opening in the fall of 2013, which remains the tentative completion date.
“This will give our young people a great new school and a positive learning experience,” Landry said. “This new school is not only an investment in our students but is also an investment in our community and it is one we are proud to make.”
New Glasgow Mayor Barrie MacMillan welcomed the announcement of a state-of-the-art facility that will provide a healthy, safe and an enriched setting for children to learn.
“This new school represents an exciting new chapter in the life and times of New Glasgow, a town that values education, learning and the principles of caring deeply for family, neighbours and friends,” he said.
“A good education unlocks the doors to liberty, to justice, to innovation and often to kindness and dignity. We all know that education is about much more than bricks and mortar; it is about dedicated teachers that (light) a fire and inspire a thirst for knowledge in their students, it is about a meaningful curriculum, insightful leadership and for creating an environment where special community gathering and memories occur.”
The new school will replace NGJHS, as well as Acadia Street and Temperance Street elementary schools.
The combined enrolment in 2009 was about 550 students. Since then, it has been agreed to send Grade 9 students to North Nova Education Centre, which can accommodate them. Northumberland Regional High School, which opened at the same time as North Nova in 2003, has enrolled Grade 9 students from the start.
Overall enrolment has risen slightly, although it has declined since then from about 350 students to 318 at NGJHS, according to CCRSB figures dated Nov. 2. Numbers are largely unchanged at Temperance at 105 students, while Acadia’s total is 148 students, up almost 50 students from 2009.
Where the school will be built remains uncertain, although the site of the existing junior high school is the one preferred by the steering committee that includes Stevens, the three school’s principals and members of each of the three school advisory councils.
Meanwhile, New Glasgow town councillor and former educator Clyde Fraser praised the steering team and hopes the new school is built on the junior high site.
“It’s central, strategic and the neighbourhood is accustomed to it,” he said.
Landry said Monday that the province wants to examine the junior high school before confirming the new school’s site. That can only be done over the Christmas holidays when the children are not attending school, which he said will put off the site announcement until the New Year.