The province is promising to spend more than $300 million over the next seven years for a new school construction and renovation program.
The $307.3 million investment announced yesterday is for eight new schools to be built and 41 other schools to be upgraded throughout the province by 2016. The announcement is part of the province’s Building For Growth economic stimulus plan, with work contingent on approval of the upcoming spring budget.
"These 49 school projects will provide jobs now and a valuable legacy for years to come,” Premier Rodney MacDonald said in a release.
From the Halifax Regional School Board, there are four new schools slated to be built, with two others receiving renovations.
A new $34.2-million high school is slated to replace Charles P. Allen in Bedford with a scheduled opening of 2012. In Halifax, a Joseph Howe Elementary School replacement is set for 2013 along with a LeMarchant-St. Thomas Elementary School replacement for 2014.
In Dartmouth, a new P-9 school will replace Prince Arthur Junior High and Southdale-North Woodside Elementary, with an opening date of 2014.
Another two schools — Dartmouth High and Inglis Street Elementary — will both receive multi-million dollar upgrades, along with local French schools Carrefour and Ecole Secondaire d’Halifax.
Education Minister Judy Streatch, who joined the premier at yesterday’s announcement in Lunenburg, said the schools chosen come from the latest Capital School Construction List started in 2008, along with recommendations from school boards across the province.
She added the announcements also clean up leftover projects from a similar list made in 2003.
“I think people will be very suspicious that this is an announcement apparently being made shortly before an election campaign,” NDP leader Darrell Dexter said to yesterday’s news.
Added Liberal leader Stephen McNeil, “It’s offensive that this government is using the education of our children as a political pawn.”