RIVER HEBERT – Renovations to River Hebert District High School should be complete by late fall 2013, says Education Minister Ramona Jennex.
Jennex announced Thursday that tenders for completing the stalled project will be called in November.
The first tender came in more than 45 per cent above the budget estimate.
“Parents and community members have told me how important it is for this project to move forward,” the minister said. “I want to assure the community this school remains a priority and funding is protected to make River Hebert an even better school for students and the community.”
Frustrations have been growing in the community since workers walked away from the project last spring.
Students have been attending classes at the half finished school since September.
The school will become a Primary to Grade 12 facility when completed.
“It would be irresponsible to simply write a blank cheque,” the minister said. “Nova Scotians expect us to be fiscally responsible and retendering the project will ensure we get a fair price.”
The planned renovation area has been secured as a construction site to help ensure the health and safety of students, staff and the community.
“We are pleased that the province is taking the next step in this process,” Chignecto-Central Regional School Board superintendent Gary Clarke said in a news release. “It is important for the students, staff and the community of River Hebert that this last phase of the renovations be completed to ensure students have access to the best education opportunities and facilities now and in the future.”
Area county councillor John Reid said the community has been waiting for the province to act.
“It’s about time,” Reid said. “As you know we’re in an election campaign and it’s the one issue that people want to talk about on the doorsteps, even if they don’t have children. The school is more than education, it’s the pulse of the community and people want to see it completed.”
Reid is concerned with what happens if the latest round of tenders comes in higher than expected. He said the province needs to be prepared to pay more to the get the project done.