Will a new elementary school incorporate the gymnasium at former Yarmouth Junior High School? The school board says it doesn't yet know. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
By Tina Comeau
The Tri-County Regional School Board still doesn’t know where a new elementary school for Yarmouth will be located and whether the new school construction the province has announced will incorporate the gymnasium of the former Yarmouth Junior High School into the design of the new school.
The matter of a new elementary school was discussed briefly at the board’s March 4 monthly meeting.
It was pointed out that the site selection process for a new elementary school has yet to take place.
When the board submitted a request for a new elementary school, options that were included for the education department’s consideration were for new school construction or a retrofit that would make use of the gymnasium at the junior high school on Parade Street.
In a letter to the school board, the Department of Education says the cash flow for the project will begin in the year 2015-16. From there, cash will continue to flow into the project in the years 2016-17 and 2017-18.
Steve Stoddart, the board’s director of operations, says more details will come forth over the coming months as the site selection process takes place.
“As you know there is a time crunch here,” he said.
By a time crunch, Stoddart was referring to the school reviews that have taken place, in which the school board voted to close Arcadia, Central and South Centennial Schools.
“Based on the Education Act, the Act says that the schools have to close within five years of the motion,” he said, otherwise the Act calls for a new school review.
The board’s motion to close the schools was made in late March 2013. Five years out would take the board to March 2018.
The school board had originally intended to close Arcadia Consolidated School at the end of this school year. But uncertainty over where students from that elementary school will eventually attend classes caused the board to indefinitely postpone that closure until it is known whether students from Arcadia will attend the new school. If it is decided that no students from Arcadia School will attend the new school, than a new date for closure will eventually be selected. If it is decided that some or all students from Arcadia will attend the new school, then Arcadia School won’t close until the new elementary school opens.
It is already known that students from Central and South Centennial Schools will attend the new elementary school.
The Department of Education says that $9,950,000 has been approved for the new elementary school. Some around the school board table question whether that amount is high enough for a new elementary school.
“That sounds a little light for a new school, can they do it for that?” asked board member Ron Hines.
Stoddart said he too has questioned the number.
After a site has been selected for the elementary school, a school steering committee will be established.