New school in Saint John’s north-end to come with child-care, community space

Click to play video: 'New school opening in Saint John to come with community hub'
New school opening in Saint John to come with community hub
A new school under construction in Saint John will come with a community hub attached, as announced by the province's education minister on Friday. The school, which will be attended by students from across the city's north end, will be the second education facility in the city to receive the addition. As Nathalie Sturgeon reports, the announcement came as welcome news for workers serving both students and families – Apr 19, 2024

The new north-end school in Saint John, N.B., will also be getting a community hub.

Hazen White St. Francis School and Centennial School will eventually merge into a new school, accommodating nearly 522 students.

The hub will include child-care spaces, after-school programs and spaces for community partners. Another school planned for the south end will also have one.

“It’s going to respond to emotional, social needs for both the children and their families in the community so it is extremely exciting,” Education Minister Bill Hogan told reporters on Friday.

The project, though, has been delayed, according to the department. The school was planned to be opened in September 2026 but has been pushed back a year.

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The original school project was expected to cost $41.69 million. The department has invested more than $12 million for the hub to be integrated into the facility – making the project over $53 million.

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Hogan couldn’t say what has led to the delays in beginning construction on the school.

But the school’s population, like many others, is growing.

The new education facility is welcome news for those trying to help accommodate the ballooning student population.

“It will be really to help with our future expansion that we’re having but we’re seeing the numbers certainly increase in this area,” said Derek O’Brien, anglophone south school district superintendent.

The school already has a small area where on-the-ground organizations work with students and families. The new hubs will be modelled after it.

But having everyone in one central area is critical.

“What has been the big issue is … that you’re all over the city,” Stephanie McGarrigle, the parent support committee chair for Centennial School. “You might have your kid in one program and you have to go to the west side and then you have to go to the SJRH and then you have to go to the district office, so the importance of this is it brings the communities together.”

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