Moncton company buys old high school, saving it from destruction

Click to play video 'Decision on former Moncton High School building announced' Decision on former Moncton High School building announced
WATCH: After much debate and a few proposals we now know who will take control of the former Moncton High School building. More importantly – we now know what they plan to do with it. Paul Cormier has the story.

Premier Brian Gallant’s provincial government has reached an agreement, in principle, to see the old Moncton high building saved from destruction and redeveloped.

Moncton based Heritage Developments will purchase the 82 year old building and form a partnership with MH Renaissance to restore the former school.

MH Renaissance president Dennis Cochrane says they already have wheels in motion.

READ MORE: Decision on former Moncton High School imminent: minister

“We’ll look at a business plan for the cultural side, and then take a look at federal and provincial plans to assist. It’s our goal that it operates without a subsidy,” Dennis Cochrane said.

For the province it was important that certain criteria were met for the proposal to be accepted.

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“With this option we are going to have economic activity coming into the building helping the downtown core,” Gallant said. “We are going to have the auditorium and gymnasium to advance arts and culture here in the region and on top of that we will be receiving $1 million.”

The $1 million is the asking price for the building.

About a 150 people were on hand for the announcement. including Michael McArdle, a former teacher at Moncton high, who’s relieved his worse fears were avoided.

“[It’s] very emotional. The biggest fear that I had was that something was going to happen and that it would be brought down to a pile of rubble.” McArdle said.

READ MORE: Moving library to former Moncton High could mean property tax revenue for city: MH35

Some alternative proposals considered by the province could have resulted in the demolition of all or part of the building.

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For Moncton Centre MLA Chris Collins, who’s been a vocal proponent to save the building, this outcome could not have been better.

“I remember on numerous occasions, walking around the house with my cell phone to my ear talking to people, very loud … it was a passionate fight. We won, the right thing is being done to this buillding,” Collins said.

For Moncton’s mayor, the renovation of this iconic building is seen as a turning point in the city’s cultural perspective.

“You think of Assumption Cathedral, Castle Manor, and now Moncton High School, we are seeing increasingly how important our heritage is in our community,” said Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold.