TRURO – Sites have been chosen for new schools in Bible Hill and Tatamagouche.
According to a news release from the provincial government, the new facilities will be built on existing school properties that were submitted by the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board.
In Bible Hill, the new Grade Primary to 4 school will be located on the property of the existing Bible Hill Central Elementary School and will replace Bible Hill central and Bible Hill East Court Road elementary schools. The project was originally announced in 2009.
In Tatamagouche, a new Grade Primary to 12 school will replace North Colchester High School and Tatamagouche elementary and will be located on the property of the existing high school. The project was announced in the 2014-15 provincial capital plan.
Karen Casey, minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, told the Truro Daily News there were specific reasons for locating the new facilities on existing sites.
“They are well established sites in the community, there’s space on the sites to build and we own the property,” said Casey. “We are not spending millions to buy land when we already own land.”
Casey said opening dates haven’t been confirmed but the confirmation of location now allows school steering teams to be established for the provision of input to the project management and design team.
Casey suggested it “will probably” take six to eight months to design the new schools and enter the tender stage before construction begins. It’s expected it will take an additional year to year and a half to build the schools. After the new facilities are erected, the schools at the sites where construction will take place will be demolished. It’s undecided what will happen with East Court elementary and Tatamagouche elementary.
Debbie Buott-Matheson, spokeswoman with the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, said the site location confirmation is “very, very, very welcome news.”
Buott-Matheson confirmed enrolment numbers last year at North Colchester High School were 199; Tatamagouche elementary had 188 students; Bible Hill central taught 153 youngsters; and Bible Hill East Court Road school had 122 children.
Casey added moving on to the next step should offer some comfort to the respective communities.
“Students, parents, community members and school boards can take comfort in knowing that we have listened to their advice and selected sites that are familiar to students and easily accessible to communities,” said Casey in the news release.