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May 30, 2006
For immediate release

Premier Clarifies Plans for Montague Regional High School


Premier Pat Binns says the Provincial Government’s commitment to the new high school project has been misunderstood. Following a community consultation, however, the Premier said he is very encouraged that the community is committed to a quality learning environment for students.

The first issue is relative to the budget for the project. While media reports have suggested a $10 million budget, Government committed $14 million for new expenditures. This is in addition to the almost $3 million which will be saved by maintaining and modernizing the current gymnasium and industrial arts space, which are in relatively good shape. The total project will have an equivalent value of approximately $17 million in new construction.

This will make the new school the most expensive school project ever undertaken on PEI.

Binns says that the second issue, the size of the new school, will be close to the same size as the current school. The plan is to build a large enough school to handle the full school population and classroom space will be converted to program space as the population changes. Binns noted that school enrollments across PEI (urban and rural) have dropped and will continue to decline due to lower birth rates since the 1980's.

The third issue, the concept of a multi-purpose theatre, has always been a possibility. Other schools have incorporated theatre/cafeteria/music space in their designs, and a similar opportunity exists for Montague. This is an issue for the planning committee to consider.

The fourth issue is the suggestion that the planning process is complete. The reality is that the planning has just begun. This will take several months and will involve the school board, community representatives, the student body, MRHS staff and the Department of Education.

Finally, the location of the school has been an issue. Building the new school on the current site has been deemed the best location for several reasons: 1) the current location will save approximately $3 million by incorporating and upgrading the existing gymnasium and industrial arts centre; 2) the cafeteria serves the junior high and high school; 3) a substantial number of students walk to school at current location; 4) town water, sewer and power are installed at the current site; 5) proximity of Intermediate and Elementary school allows for joint programs; and 6) the economic impact of the current site on the Town of Montague is significant.

“The objective of the Government is to have a first class high school that everyone can be proud of. I look forward to the work of the planning committee and ask it to provide for more community input,” said the Premier.

Media Contact: Patrick Dorsey
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