Millwood High could shut down, with students joining their peers at nearby Sackville High, under one of many recommendations Haligonians will hear at next week’s Imagine Our Schools meetings, the project’s lead consultant said Thursday.
Maureen O’Shaughnessy of CS&P Architects Inc. said the population is declining at both schools and is expected to drop to about 500 students within the next 10 years.
“What we’re recommending here is that there be one high school,” she said, adding Sackville High “would definitely get improvements and alterations.”
O’Shaughnessy’s team will make its final proposal for about 70 schools in the central, eastern, south central and southwestern parts of the municipality at four meetings starting Monday and running through Thursday. This represents the second phase of Imagine Our Schools, a long-range plan for facilities that fall under Halifax Regional School Board.
“Although our assignment is to talk about facilities, our goal is actually to find a way to make the best places for the kids to learn,” she said, adding the theory is that “every school should have the opportunity to improve.”
She said the details for final recommendations will be finalized this weekend, but said community members shouldn’t expect to see “anything that’s really controversial or dramatic.
“They’re fairly small moves,” O’Shaughnessy said. She also recognized, however, that some people won't be happy with the recommendations.
Under the first phase of Imagine Our Schools last year, her Toronto consulting company recommended closing either Cole Harbour District High or Auburn Drive High so those schools could also be consolidated. But the city’s school board ended up deciding against that.
O’Shaughnessy emphasized that community members will still have a chance to provide feedback when the school board holds public submission meetings.
“People have been contributing real ideas,” she said. "I think the community has seen that participating does make a difference and so it's definitely worth coming out."