July 18, 2013 6:49 pm

Eastern Passage to get new high school

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HALIFAX – It’s been more than a year since Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter announced plans for a high school in Eastern Passage, but the wait is closer to being over.

Presently, 400 students are bussed to Cole Harbour High School.

The government was going to renovate an elementary school and turn it into a high school, but plans have changed.

Dexter announced Thursday a new, hight-tech high school will be built in Eastern Passage — one of the fastest growing family communities in the Halifax-area.

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It’s welcome news for the students who will be among the first to attend the school, including Abby Cenerini — who will enter grade 8 in September.

“I think it’s going to mean a lot. I think this is something we can really look forward to that we’ll really enjoy and I think it’s something special that we’ll all appreciate,” she said.

It would have cost the province $15 million to renovate Seaside Elementary School, to accommodate high school students.

But, the premier said it wasn’t feasible.

“We determined that if we could save some money we’d like too, but this was not going to be the project we were going to make those kinds of savings, Dexter told a crowd at Fishermen’s Cove. “So, we decided, instead, that we would go forward with a new stand alone high school. This is something that the community has been looking for now for almost 30 years.”

Minister of Education Ramona Jennex said it would have been expensive to renovate Seaside Elementary. “It was cinder block. All of the wiring and the technology and the build would have been more expensive than a new building.” She adds, “So it just made more sense to build a new building.”

The province will invest $21 million into the new high school, which is expected to open for the 2015-16 school year — a year later than it would have been for a renovated high school.

“Well, it pushes the opening back one year,” Dexter said. “But, it does not affect, for example, what is going on at the trades high school in Cole Harbour that will still go ahead.”

That trades school will cost $10 million.

There is some property near Seaside Elementary where the new high school could be built.

No decision has been made, but a site is expected to be picked soon, Jennex said.

“Three sites need to come forward and need to be explored and then the school board will make that presentation, and then I will actually get the final say on where the school will be,” she said.

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