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July 26, 2006
For immediate release
Design of New Montague High School Reflects Community Input
Education Minister Mildred Dover advised today that the general plans for the school have been changed to reflect input by the school community. The new school will now include three additional classrooms, additional space to serve 650 rather than 550 students, and a combined cafeteria and theatre complex. The cost of these additions is approximately $800,000.
After considering a request by some residents to relocate the school to the Wood Islands Hill area, government reconfirmed its decision to build the school on the existing site. “After careful consideration, we found that relocating the school is not a viable option from a financial or a practical perspective. To move the school would cost an additional $4.5 million which far exceeds the project budget of $14 million,” said Minister Dover. “The close proximity to Montague Intermediate School was also a factor in the decision to keep the school where it is. Buses carry students to both the intermediate and high schools.”
“Finally, we determined that it would not be prudent or practical to totally demolish the existing structure when a good portion of the school is still in very good shape. With today’s technology, we can bring the gymnasium area and the trades spaces to “like new” condition as we have done at Bluefield and other schools,” said Minister Dover.
Minister Dover acknowledged with appreciation the high level of public interest in the new school. “We all want the best school possible and we have tried our best to incorporate public input while making the best use of new and existing resources,” she said. “At the end of the day, we will have a modern, spacious and highly functional facility that includes many improvements such as improved classrooms, science and computer labs, strengthened music and performing arts facilities, and functional parking, bus drop-off and student access to the school.”
Government is now committed to several major school construction projects at Montague High School, Parkside Elementary School, Tracadie Cross Elementary School and the West Prince French School.
Investments of $9 million will also be made over the next three years to improve student achievement across the province. This work will involve several major initiatives such as ensuring that children are reading at the grade three level by the end of grade three, improving literacy and numeracy in intermediate and high school, improving trades curriculum, and increasing parent involvement in schools and learning. “This is very important but costly work and we must ensure that it can continue. By achieving a good balance between spending on school facilities and spending on learning, we can provide students with modern and well-equipped schools, as well as more opportunities to succeed academically,” said the minister.
During construction of the new school, approximately 60,000 square feet of space will be torn down and 60,000 square feet will be added. Another 40,000 square feet of space will be renovated to house the gym and trades training areas.
Construction will begin in 2007.