No word on West Highlands

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - No decisions have been made on the future of West Highlands Elementary and it's unlikely there'll be any discussion on the matter until later this summer.

AMHERST - No decisions have been made on the future of West Highlands Elementary and it's unlikely there'll be any discussion on the matter until later this summer.

Members of the school's advisory council are calling on the province to replace the school as soon as possible because of the presence of mould in the basement and asbestos in the walls.

The deputy minister of education, Dr. Dennis Cochrane, toured the school during the spring and recently advised that scheduled renovations should not proceed.

"The board hasn't met since receiving the message from the deputy minister and I don't believe the operational services committee has met either. There are no meetings scheduled until August at the earliest," board spokesperson Terri Mingo-MacNeil said Tuesday.

The board has several options to consider. It can ask the province to build a new school or it could move West Highlands' students to either Spring Street Academy, which is at capacity, or Cumberland North Academy in Brookdale.

Air quality testing was done at the school during the March Break and found mould levels to be well within safety parameters. It's not known what the asbestos levels were, although school officials were advised to tape over any cracks they discovered.

Mingo-MacNeil confirmed more testing was done earlier this month but said the results have yet to be analysed.

However, she said the board's next move will have student and staff safety as its primary consideration.

"Safety is always our biggest concern," she said.



dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Street Academy, Cumberland North Academy

Geographic location: West Highlands Elementary, Brookdale

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